Are Skills the Answer? The Political Economy of Skill Creation in Advanced Industrial Countries
This study of vocational education in advanced industrial countries contributes to two different areas of debate. The first is the study of the diversity of institutional forms taken by modern capitalism, and the difficulties currently surrounding the survival of that diversity. Rather than analysing economic institutions and governance in general, the authors specifically focus upon the key area of skill creation. The second theme is that of vocational education and training in its own right. While sharing the consensus that the advanced countries must secure competitive advantage in a global economy by developing highly-skilled work forces, the authors draw attention to certain awkward aspects of this approach that are often glossed over in general debate: 1. The employment-generating power of improvements in skill levels is limited: employment policy cannot depend fully on education policies; 2. While the acquisition of skills has become a major public need, there is increasing dependence for their provision on individual firms, with government action being restricted to residual care for the unemployed, rather than contributing at the leading edge of advanced skills policy. Covering France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the UK, and the USA, this book provides a unique approach to education and training within the broader political and economic environment. As such, it will appeal to students, teachers, and practitioners concerned with vocational training, human resource management, industrial relations, and the sociology of the economy.
2. Employment and Employment Skills
3. Skill and Changing Patterns of Trade
4. The State and Skill Creation: Inevitable Failure?
5. Corporatist Organizations and the Problem of Rigidity
6. Local Agencies for Skill Creation
7. Markets and Corporate Hierarchies
8. Conclusions and Policy Implications