IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Volksheim oder Shopping Mall? Die Reproduktion der Gesellschaft im Dreieck von Markt, Sozialstruktur und Politik

Listed author(s):
  • Streeck, Wolfgang
Registered author(s):

    Flexible markets require flexible societies; humans, however, need a stable social order. According to received wisdom, when capitalist development razes traditional social structures, society fights back, and welfare state policies organize new stability to replace the old. More market produces more state. The present essay deals with the fertility crisis of modern societies in its relationship with both the expansion of labor markets and the change in family structures since the 1970s. It shows that traditional societies are fragile for their own reasons, without having to be subverted by expanding markets. Markets generate not just disorder but they also promise freedom. The end of the Fordist family was experienced not just as a loss but also as liberation. The decline of the standard employment relationship was paralleled by a decline of the standard family relationship, and with rising labor market participation by women, divorce rates increased while birth rates declined. Birth rates declined most where women are still required to be married in order to have children. The physical reproduction of contemporary modern societies depends on the choices of working women living with loose family ties. The social-democratic solution is the Scandinavian folkhemmet (people's home), where the traditional tasks of families are transferred to the welfare state. This is expensive, as is government provision of flexicurity in the labor market through active labor market policies. It may also provoke deep government intervention into the private lives of citizens. The alternative is the social model of the United States where the dysfunctions of the market are treated, not by government, but by further marketization: commercialization replaces state intervention. More market produces yet more market.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Working Paper with number 11/5.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2011
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:115
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Paulstr. 3, 50676 Köln

    Phone: + 49 (0) 221-2767-0
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2002. "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 667-682.
    2. Streeck, Wolfgang & Mertens, Daniel, 2010. "Politik im Defizit: Austerität als fiskalpolitisches Regime," MPIfG Discussion Paper 10/5, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:115. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.