Can the Finnish Way to Reduce Homelessness Work in Canada? The Limits of Power Resource Approaches in a Time of Economic Crisis
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AbstractWidespread homelessness is at crisis levels amongst advanced capitalist nations, indicating that the promise of neoliberal prosperity is deeply flawed. While Canada’s Liberal tradition is ineffective in combatting homelessness, Finland, a Social Democratic tradition, has successfully decreased its homeless population. This research paper evaluates the possibility of policy adoption between liberal and social democratic traditions to reduce homelessness by employing a political-economy-informed, comparative welfare state analysis. I argue that we must proceed with caution as policies do not always travel well because of the varying political and economic contexts arising from the histories of class struggle. I also argue that policies to solve homelessness are relatively limited because of the crisis-prone and contradictory nature of capitalism and the subsequent welfare state. My findings suggest that Finland’s robust working-class power resources, expressed in parliamentary and extra-parliamentary power, have been vital in homelessness reduction policy development but will inevitably meet their limits.
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