This chapter argues that Australia’s labour market – indeed most capitalist labour markets – feature too much unemployment and underemployment and associated forms of labour market insecurity or disadvantage. The later term implies a weak or tenuous connection to the labour force through underemployment or involuntary casual or part-time work and/or low wages or other manifestations of weakness vis-à-vis employers. The direct and indirect costs of such malfunctions in the labour market are reflected in all sorts of economic, social and health costs (Watts 2000; Saunders and Taylor 2002). A good deal of social policy is directed to problems emanating from the labour market and its various malfunctions – especially unemployment, underemployment and inequality. Accordingly, a good way to minimize the need for expensive and often difficult social policy interventions is to organize the labour market so that it provides reasonable jobs and wages for those that seek them


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