Flexicurity: What is it? Can it Work Downunder?
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From the late seventies, neo-liberal economic prescriptions for labour market reform held sway across the English-speaking advanced economies. The neo-liberal view was that employment security came at the expense of labour market flexibility, and retarded economic dynamism. Today, the Great Recession has blown asunder the claim that deregulated labour markets generate more jobs. It is clear that flexible wages and scant unemployment benefits do not automatically clear the labour market. The Nordic and western European nations never fully embraced labour market fundamentalism. Their distinctive alternative policy - 'flexicurity' - targets both flexibility and security, combining decent work in lightly regulated labour markets with active labour market programs and generous unemployment benefits. By adopting a social insurance model, Australia can raise significantly the income support available to unemployed workers and underpin national economic dynamism with robust flexicurity architecture. An increase in the Superannuation Guarantee provides a tractable, efficient and effective way to do this.