When Nothing Works: From Cost of Living to Foundational Liveability

Luca Calafati, Julie Froud, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal, Karel Williams

Research output: Book/ReportBook


It is hard to escape the feeling that in Britain today nothing works. In the face of mounting inflation and widespread industrial action, this book offers an incisive analysis of the UK's problems and a new approach to tackling them.

Economic growth and higher wages, the traditional responses of mainstream politicians, are simply not enough. This is because the so-called 'cost of living crisis' is only the face of a deeper crisis of foundational liveability. The UK is confronted not only with squeezed residual incomes but also failing public services and decaying social infrastructure. The only way out is to embrace a political practice of adaptive reuse that works around the constraints that frustrate mainstream policies.

Presenting a new model for the three pillars of liveability - disposable and residual income, essential services and social infrastructure - When nothing works challenges the assumptions of left and right in the UK political classes and offers a fresh approach to the economically visible and politically actionable.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages287
ISBN (Print)9781526173713
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • liveability
  • foundational economy
  • living standards
  • economic policy
  • household
  • residual income


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