Buying and Selling the Poor ventures behind the scenes of the multibillion-dollar welfare-to-work system, offering new insights into how Australia responds to unemployment and disadvantage. As the authors tell the story of four local employment offices, they paint a vivid picture of a critically important social service which many people are aware of but which few properly understand. They also reveal the wider impacts that processes of marketisation and welfare reform have had on these frontline services over decades, and how the work of frontline staff and service providers has been transformed.
Buying and Selling the Poor looks closely at how these services operate, why some succeed where others fail, and what can be learned from the stories of staff and clients who have navigated the system. Three decades into this market experiment, how well are we doing in supporting our most vulnerable citizens to get back to work?
'This revealing, often heart-wrenching work will prove enlightening for not only those within the policy field, but also anyone with an interest in or experience dealing with a system that often feels like a race to the bottom.'
- Kim Thomson, Books+Publishing