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Constituting monetary conservatives via the 'savings habit': New Labour and the British housing market bubble

By Matthew Watson

Abstract

The ongoing world credit crunch might well kill off the most recent bubble dynamics in the British housing market by driving prices systematically downwards from their 2007 peak. Nonetheless, the experience of that bubble still warrants analytical attention. The Labour Government might not have been responsible for consciously creating it, but it has certainly grasped the opportunities the bubble has provided in an attempt to enforce a process of agential change at the heart of the British economy. The key issue in this respect is the way in which the Government has challenged the legitimacy of passive welfare receipts in favour of establishing a welfare system based on incorporating the individual into an active asset-holding society. The housing market has taken on new political significance as a means for individuals first to acquire assets and then to accumulate wealth on the back of asset ownership. The ensuing integration of the housing market into an increasingly reconfigured welfare system has permeated into the politics of everyday life. It has been consistent with individuals remaking their political subjectivities in line with preferences for the type of conservative monetary policies that typically keep house price bubbles inflated

Topics: HC, DA
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1931

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