Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 20 items for

  • Author or Editor: Louise Humpage x
Clear All Modify Search
Does neoliberalism matter?
Author:

Neoliberal reforms have seen a radical shift in government thinking about social citizenship rights around the world. But have they had a similarly significant impact on public support for these rights? This unique book traces public views on social citizenship across three decades through attitudinal data from New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia.

It argues that support for some aspects of social citizenship diminished more significantly under some political regimes than others, and that limited public resistance following the financial crisis of 2008-2009 further suggests the public ‘rolled over’ and accepted these neoliberal values. Yet attitudinal variances across different policy areas challenge the idea of an omnipotent neoliberalism, providing food for thought for academics, students and advocates wishing to galvanise support for social citizenship in the 21st century.

Restricted access
Author:

Using New Zealand and Australian examples, this article provides evidence that neoliberalism is both coherent and diverse. An analysis of government initiatives focused on ‘improving government performance’ regarding indigenous outcomes and indigenous ‘capacity building’ illustrates how ‘performance management’ has legitimated and extended neoliberalism in both countries. However, instabilities contained within a performance management discourse provide spaces for contestation that may ultimately lead to further reform and reorientation. Furthermore, the particular sociopolitical contexts of each country have ensured that the forms of neoliberalism being embedded in the 21st century are highly complex, indigenised hybrids rather than a one-size-fits-all formula.

Restricted access
Author:

Neoliberal reforms have transformed government thinking about social citizenship rights but have they also changed public support for these rights? This chapter explores this key research question and the analytical framework used to explore it, situating neoliberalism as a coherent yet diverse process that will be studied across three countries, three decades and four major policy areas. The chapter also discusses the methodology used to explore policy feedback through both quantitative survey data and qualitative interview and focus group data. An overview of the book argues that by the 2010s the public had ‘rolled-over’ and accepted some of neoliberalism’s tenets but there is also evidence of the kind of ‘grit’ that could inhibit the smooth running of neoliberalism in the future.

Restricted access
Author:

This chapter identifies the pivotal shift from a Keynesian policy regime that institutionalised social citizenship to one driven by neoliberal values. It highlights how social citizenship as an intellectual concept was widely institutionalised and supported in the period following World War II. Significant economic and political challenges, however, threatened the institutions supporting social citizenship in the 1970s and 1980s. Most notably, the concept of citizenship became market-focused and oriented towards active labour market participation as neoliberal values came to dominate political thought. The second part of the chapter outlines this process of neoliberalisation, which is understood to have been implemented across three phases but with differing levels of success in varied policy areas and countries. A third section explores what the empirical literature on policy feedback tells us about neoliberalism’s potential impact upon public opinion. It also highlights good reasons why these findings may not necessarily be applicable to the New Zealand case, requiring the kind of historical, multi-faceted analysis this book provides.

Restricted access
Author:

Building on the last chapter’s survey of the varied policy feedback effects known to shape public opinion, this chapter explores New Zealand’s turbulent political and policy history between 1984 and 2011. Shifts in neoliberalism’s nature over roll-back, roll-out and roll-over phases suggest that New Zealand attitudes towards social citizenship may also fluctuate over time. Discussion of each key phase in New Zealand is punctuated by brief analysis of significant variances in the type, strength and/or timing of policies implemented in the United Kingdom and Australia, identifying where trends in public attitudes may also differ across geographical space. In focusing on four key policy areas, the chapter also stresses that neoliberalism’s implementation has been far from uniform, even within one time period or country. Nor has it gone uncontested, with both political divisions within government and public demand for electoral reform and policy reversals providing a final reason why we cannot assume that New Zealand attitudes towards social citizenship have been comprehensively and coherently transformed. This background provides a crucial context for the following chapters, which each examine how neoliberalism — in all its diversity — shaped attitudes towards social citizenship in one of the four key policy areas.

Restricted access
Author:

The most fundamental and enduring aspect of neoliberalisation is its economic agenda, predicated on low inflation, globalised free trade, support for business and a rebalancing of the worker-employer relationship. The first section of this chapter focuses on how such changes interacted with New Zealand views on government’s responsibility to provide jobs and on import and wage controls, while a second is concerned with New Zealand views on unions and a third considers whether a more ‘business friendly’ economy and the privatisation of many state-owned assets changed New Zealand attitudes towards big business and public ownership. Analysis is mainly focused on the covariance between policy and attitudes but the chapter examines whether the unemployment rate may influence responses regarding employment issues, while also considering how ideological affiliation and age mediate attitudes. Each section ends by comparing the New Zealand findings with the available data on attitudinal change in the United Kingdom and Australia. Overall, the chapter illustrates that support for employment-related aspects of social citizenship has in many cases diminished, providing some evidence that citizens have rolled over. But we need to unpack the three key issues discussed to understand neoliberalism’s mixed influence in the economic arena.

Restricted access
Author:

Social security reform is a second key aspect of neoliberalism, facilitating a shift from ‘welfare’ to ‘workfare’. The first section of this chapter explores New Zealand views on government taking responsibility for assisting and spending public monies on the unemployed, as well as whether the unemployed have a responsibility to work in return for their benefits. A second section examines public support for broader neoliberal discourses around individual responsibility, welfare dependency and individualist causes of need. The chapter analyses changes in the unemployment rate, spending on unemployment and general social expenditure where relevant, while also considering the role of ideological affiliation, age and income source may play in mediating attitudes. The qualitative data highlights both complexity and ambiguity in attitudes towards the unemployed but this chapter, nonetheless, argues that New Zealanders came to accept neoliberal social security reforms and their rationales. Assessing the relevant attitudinal data from the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia at the end of each section finds a high level of coherence in public views towards social security after three decades of neoliberalisation.

Restricted access
Author:

This chapter focuses on the ‘universal’ programmes of healthcare, education and — in the New Zealand context — superannuation for the elderly. Across three key sections, it considers whether attempts to marketise, target and/or privatise such programmes have reoriented public views of healthcare, education and economic security in old age as rights of citizenship. The chapter assesses whether attitudes are shaped by fluctuations in spending specific to health, education and old age pensions, as well as total social expenditure. It also considers the impact of ideological affiliation and age on attitudes before comparing the New Zealand data with that from the United Kingdom and Australia. The chapter highlights that continuing public support has placed similar limits on neoliberalisation in all three countries, ensuring the roll-back neoliberalism’s agenda to permanently cut social expenditure in these three policy areas were largely unachieved. This is despite significant policy differences, as exemplified by the UK’s universal National Health Service (NHS) and New Zealand’s universal superannuation.

Restricted access
Author:

Changes to taxation and other means of redistributing income are the final policy shift examined in this book. To gain an understanding of whether the New Zealand public came to endorse neoliberal ideas around taxation, the first section of this chapter explores support for reduced tax when asked in relation to both the country’s economic situation and social spending. A second section considers views on redistribution by investigating whether New Zealanders believe in progressive taxation and want more government spending on low income earners. A final section analyses New Zealand beliefs about income inequality as a third means of assessing whether equality remains a key principle of citizenship in the 21st century. Contextual factors, such as the levels of unemployment and inequality are examined while differences based on age, ideological affiliation and income level indicate the varied impact of the three phases of neoliberalism. Each section ends by considering whether the New Zealand findings represent part of a coherent trend also found in the UK and Australia. Once again, the different timing and strength of Australian reforms made some difference but this fact reinforces the argument that attitudes are responsive to shifts in government activity.

Restricted access
Author:

Framed as a hegemonic, all-powerful ideology, neoliberalism is said to have become the ‘common sense of the times’. That a global financial crisis caused by neoliberal economics did not seriously challenge its dominance appeared to confirm this view. Yet the preceding four empirical chapters explored a range of propositions tapping into New Zealand views about the right to decent work and wages, economic and social security, healthcare, education and superannuation, as well as the principle of equality. This chapter thus argues that support for social citizenship has survived into the 21st century, even if most New Zealanders would not use or recognise the term ‘social citizenship’ as defined by T.H. Marshall. Nonetheless, in summarising key attitudinal trends across three phases of neoliberalisation and across three countries, the first section of this chapter provides evidence that the public rolled over and endorsed (or at least came to accept) neoliberal values in key policy areas, most notably social security. The book concludes with a second section that considers how these findings can inform advocates wishing to galvanise public support for social citizenship in the 21st century and beyond.

Restricted access