Are living wages an unaffordable and unwieldy aspiration or a key progressive reform? Demands for fair minimum incomes have dominated national debates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This topical book addresses the rapidly shifting politics of minimum wages in US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and Australia, where workfare has compelled many to find low-income work and where neoliberal thinking about minimum wages has prevailed.
Analysing minimum wage policies within a political-economy narrative, this innovative book offers an alternative to the Basic Income narrative and identifies the success of Living Wage campaigns as central to welfare state change.
“The living wage movement is engaging millions around the world in the struggle for a fairer economy. Shaun Wilson’s marvelous and timely book helps us understand the transformative power of this simple demand.” Jim Stanford, Centre for Future Work
Shaun Wilson is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University.
Introduction: The Challenge of a Living Wage
Minimum Wage Workers and the Low-wage Labour Market
Threats to Low-wage Workers and their Living Standards
The Crumbling Orthodoxy: Arguments for Low Minimum Wages
Enter the New Politics of the Living Wage
Challenges to Living Wage Welfare States
Conclusion: Living Wages and the Liberal Welfare States in the 21st century