Social Polarisation in the Post-Fordist Informational
Economy: Ireland in International Context.
Irish Journal of Sociology, 16 (1).
This paper examines the processes whereby post-Fordist economic
restructuring is widely held to have led to growing social polarisation in the
advanced capitalist economies. Conceptual fuzziness has clouded the polarisation
hypothesis, and a review of international evidence shows no clear trend towards
either occupational or earnings inequality. There is stronger evidence of growing
household income inequality, due mainly to changes in household composition
and national taxation and social welfare policies. In the case of the Republic of
Ireland, there has been a more definite tendency towards occupational, earnings
and household income polarisation in the 1990s, giving rise to important policy
implications at a time of unprecedented national prosperity.
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