The Precariat

Neo-liberal policies and institutional changes have produced a huge and growing number of people with sufficiently common experiences to be called an emerging class. Professor Guy Standing introduces what he calls the Precariat - a growing number of people across the world living and working precariously, usually in a series of short-term jobs, without recourse to stable occupational identities, stable social protection or protective regulations relevant to them. They include migrant workers, but also locals.

Standing argues that this class of people could produce new instabilities in society. They are increasingly frustrated and dangerous because they have no voice, and hence they are vulnerable to the siren calls of extreme political parties. He outlines a new kind of good society, with more people actively involved in civil society and the precariat re-engaged. He goes on to consider one way to a new better society -- an unconditional basic wage for everyone, contributed by the state, which could be topped up through employment.

 

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Publication Date: 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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Sydney Ideas

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