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In this book Bo Rothstein seeks to defend the universal welfare state against a number of important criticisms which it has faced in recent years. He combines genuine philosophical analysis of normative issues concerning what the state ought to do with empirical political scientific research in public policy examining what the state can do. Issues discussed include the relationship between welfare state and civil society, the privatization of social services, and changing values within society. His analysis centres around the importance of political institutions as both normative and empirical entities, and Rothstein argues that the choice of such institutions at certain formative moments in a country's history is what determines the political support for different types of social policy. He thus explains the great variation among contemporary welfare states in terms of differing moral and political logics which have been set in motion by the deliberate choices of political institutions. The book is an important contribution to both philosophical and political debates about the future of the welfare state.
As the influence of labor unions declines in many industrialized nations, particularly the United States, the influence of workers has decreased. Because of the need for greater involvement of workers in changing production systems, as well as frustration with existing structures of workplace regulation, the search has begun for new ways of providing a voice for workers outside the traditional collective bargaining relationship. Works councils—institutionalized bodies for representative communication between an employer and employees in a single workplace—are rare in the Anglo-American world, but are well-established in other industrialized countries. The contributors to this volume survey the history, structure, and functions of works councils in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Canada, and the United States. Special attention is paid to the relations between works councils and unions and collective bargaining, works councils and management, and the role and interest of governments in works councils. On the basis of extensive comparative data from other Western countries, the book demonstrates powerfully that well-designed works councils may be more effective than labor unions at solving management-labor problems.