The values of austerity are a crucial part of the neoliberal repertoire: austerity narratives reinforce the idea that poverty arises from fecklessness. While hard-working citizens are busily looking after themselves properly, the poor are indulging in the irresponsible parenting that is to blame for their offpring's lack of opportunity. The notion that individual decisions are responsible for structurally generated poverty was a key New Labour motif (and one that has not wholly been abandoned). But the Tories have cranked up the rhetoric on problem families, while the new thrift aesthetic opens up further possibilities for the demonising of spendthrifts on benefits. Meanwhile thrift rhetoric demands that the state also stops wasting money on people who after all have only themselves to blame.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2013-12-13
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