W. Rand Smith is professor of politics and associate dean of the faculty at Lake Forest College. He has also taught at the University of Michigan, ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines (Paris), and Institut d’etudes Politiques (Grenoble). The author of Crisis in the French Labor Movement: A Grassroots Perspective (1987), Smith has published articles on French and Spanish political economy in such journals as Politics & Society, Comparative Politics, and West European Politics.
The Left’s Dirty Job compares the experiences of recent socialist governments in France and Spain, examining how the governments of Francois Mitterrand (1981-1995) and Felipe Gonzalez (1982-1996) provide a key test of whether a leftist approach to industrial restructuring is possible. This study argues that, in fact, both governments’s policies generally resembled those of other European governments in their emphasis on market-adapting measures that eliminated thousands of jobs while providing income support for displaced workers. Featuring extensive field work and interviews with over one hundred political, labor, and business leaders, this study is the first systematic comparison of these important socialist governments.