Working Capital: Life and Labour in Contemporary London

£15.00 (inc VAT)

Exactly one hundred years ago, Charles Booth published the definitive edition of Life and Labour of the People in London – the world’s first urban social survey. Working Capital is the 21st-Century Booth survey. It too is based on a mass of in-depth data analysis and hundreds of interviews across London and its wider region – with employers, teachers, students, officials and ordinary people in their homes. It addresses questions as vital as the ones that animated Booth.

In recent years, big cities like London have been seen sometimes as a problem, sometimes as a solution. Now, they appear to be both: hugely successful in the new global economy, but their riches unequally distributed. And this may lead to social exclusion, even polarisation, which may threaten their continued economic success. So the new challenge is to reconcile competitiveness and cohesion, through the fine art of urban governance.

Working Capital puts these three key concepts – competitiveness, cohesion, governance – under the research microscope. And London is the ideal subject: a truly global city, outstandingly successful, yet marred by increasing inequality and deprivation.

This book reaches fascinating and controversial conclusions. Many things are not what they seem. London is economically successful, yet most of its workers are not involved in the global economy. Most Londoners are doing well, some outstandingly well, but many are struggling – and some are sinking. Yet London’s neighbourhoods remain remarkably integrated.

These conclusions will be relevant far beyond London’s borders – indeed for cities across the world.

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