Decommodification has been conceptualised in terms of the state intervening to remove workers from total dependence on the market. The application of these ideas to New Labour’s policies indicates that they are based neither on simple decommodification, nor ‘recommodification’ through state withdrawal, but on utilising welfare state intervention to support and enhance the market. There appears to be an attempt to develop new forms of intervention, which are able to overcome the contradictions between the need for state involvement and the needs of the market (Jessop, 2000, p. 183; Holden, 1999, p. 538).
Such policies may be best characterised as a kind of ‘administrative recommodification’, a concept previously articulated by Offe (1984). But they also utilise the state in ways not anticipated by Offe. At the heart of this reconfiguration of state intervention is a requirement that social rights to welfare services be re-articulated. Rather than ‘reverse’ those rights, something Offe thought impossible, ‘responsibilities’ or obligations are attached to them. Although I have focused on Britain under New Labour, I am not suggesting that the forms being taken by the British welfare state will necessarily emerge in other states. Whilst advanced welfare states face similar problems, there is no inevitability about how they will respond to them. Although many of the trends discussed here can be found in other countries, we may expect novel,and differing, forms of state intervention to arise in different countries (Jessop1993, p. 28). Esping-Andersen’s insights are crucial here in terms of acknowledging the importance of history and existing institutions, and the possibility of ‘path-dependency’ (1990, 1996). What distinguishes policies of ‘administrative recommodification’ is the attempt to find new ways of reconciling the contradictions arising from the necessity for welfare state intervention in market economies. Yet new forms of contradiction may emerge from this reconfiguration of the welfare state, which will require further research. In-work benefits appear to be an innovative means of removing the ‘unemployment trap’ and increasing the gap between benefit income and employment income. Yet it is possible that a new ‘trap’ will be created which provides a disincentive to move from low-waged employment to higher-waged employment as benefits are progressively removed. Active state intervention in support of the market may therefore call forth still further interventions, and itself prove to be inherently contradictory.(Accepted: 27 May 2003)
商品化已经概念化的国家干预与市场上完全依赖消除工人。这些思想的新工党的政策应用表明，他们是基于既没有简单的商品化，也没有“recommodification”通过国家退出，但利用福利国家干预的支持和提高市场。似乎有一个尝试开发新形式的干预，这是能够克服国家的参与和市场需求的需要之间的矛盾（索普，2000，p. 183；霍尔顿，1999，p. 538）。