chapter  1
22 Pages


ByEithne McLaughlin

By the late 1980s, unemployment was becoming a forgotten policy issue in Britain. This was not because there was little unemployment, but because unemployment had been redefined as a residual and individualized problem, for which the enterprising free-market Thatcher administration had no direct responsibility. There was, then, no crisis. This book aims to provide a wellinformed, easily understandable and up-to-date explanation of why unemployment has been a continuing crisis for the British and Northern Irish economies, as well as for the many people, adults and children, who have had to experience the effects of unemployment. In this and subsequent chapters the emphasis is on an analysis of the structure of unemployment, and through that the identification of a responsible set of policies which could address this long-running crisis. The purpose of this first chapter is to provide an overview of the analyses in the context of a critique of approaches to unemployment in the 1980s and early 1990s.