All advanced democracies have faced the pressures of globalization, technological change, and new family forms, which have generated higher levels of inequality in market incomes. But countries have responded differently, reflecting differences in their domestic politics. The politics of who gets what and why is at the core of this volume, the first to examine this question in an explicitly Canadian context.
In Inequality and the Fading of Redistributive Politics, leading political scientists, sociologists, and economists point to the failure of public policy to contain surging income inequality. Government programs are no longer offsetting the growth in inequality generated by the market, and Canadian society has become more unequal. The redistributive state is fading due to powerful forces that have reshaped the politics of social policy, including global economic pressures, ideological change, shifts in the influence of business and labour, changes in the party system, and the decline of equality-seeking civil society organizations.
On one side, the organizations that speak for the economic interests of lower-income Canadians – mobilizing resources, expertise, and attention on their behalf – have been weakened. On the other side, changes in the distribution of power within our political institutions have made concerted action to tackle inequality more difficult.
This volume demonstrates conclusively that action and inaction -- policy change and policy drift -- are at the heart of growing inequality in Canada. Governments have not responded energetically to the evidence and their indifference calls into question Canada’s record as a kinder, gentler nation.
Required reading for scholars and students in public policy, political science, political sociology, economics, and social work.
The end of egalitarianism? Canada, like Sweden, has experienced the ill effects of a sudden and sharp inegalitarian thrust and a decline in redistribution. This volume delivers a comprehensive diagnosis of what is happening in Canada, but also speaks to the world at large. Readers who hope to identify the smoking gun may be disappointed; but those who wish to understand the true complexities will be amply rewarded by this impressive book.
The evidence is convincing: inequality has increased in Canada at the same time the welfare state is losing its moorings. This book traces how this has come about and what the impact of this fading social protection will have on specific policy domains and social risks, and more generally on the fabric of Canadian society. It is a cautionary tale of one country's journey from the promise of a redistributive state to the perils of inequality.
Keith Banting is a professor in the School of Policy Studies and the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University and holds the Queen’s Research Chair in Public Policy. John Myles is a professor emeritus of sociology and currently senior fellow in the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto.
Contributors: Robert Andersen, Robin Boadway, Gerard W. Boychuk, William D. Coleman, Katherine Cuff, Josh Curtis, David A. Good, David A. Green, Rodney Haddow, Jane Jenson, Richard Johnston, Edward Koning, Rianne Mahon, Alain Noël, Susan D. Phillips, Stuart Soroka, James Townsend, Carolyn Hughes Tuohy
1 Introduction: Inequality and the Fading of Redistributive Politics / Keith Banting and John Myles
Part 1: Politics
2 Historical Transformations of Canada’s Social Architecture: Institutions, Instruments, and Ideas / Jane Jenson
3 Drivers of Increasing Market Income Inequality: Structural Change and Policy / David A. Green and James Townsend
4 Business, Labour, and Redistributive Politics / William D. Coleman
5 Restructuring Civil Society: Muting the Politics of Redistribution / Susan D. Phillips
6 Public Opinion on Social Spending, 1980-2005 / Robert Andersen and Josh Curtis
7 Multicultural Diversity and Redistribution / Keith Banting, Stuart Soroka, and Edward Koning
8 The Party System, Elections, and Social Policy / Richard Johnston
9 The New Bureaucratic Politics of Redistribution / David A. Good
10 Territorial Politics and the New Politics of Redistribution / Gerard W. Boychuk
11 Quebec’s New Politics of Redistribution / Alain Noël
Part 2: Policy
12 Health Care Policy after Universality: Canada in Comparative Perspective / Carolyn Hughes Tuohy
13 Income Security for Seniors: System Maintenance and Policy Drift / John Myles
14 The Recent Evolution of Tax-Transfer Policies / Robin Boadway and Katherine Cuff
15 Childcare, New Social Risks, and the New Politics of Redistribution in Ontario / Rianne Mahon
16 Labour Market Income Transfers and Redistribution: National Themes and Provincial Variations / Rodney Haddow
Part 3: Conclusion
17 Canadian Social Futures: Concluding Reflections / Keith Banting and John Myles
Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.Subscribe to our newsletter now
Read past newsletters