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The Precariat

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The Precariat

The New Dangerous Class


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

As Professor Guy Standing warns, a new social, political and cultural class has arrived worldwide – the underemployed, alienated and enraged.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Guy Standing, professor of development studies at the University of London, offers an unprecedented, necessary and articulate examination of a dominant, crucial consequence of globalization: the creation and maintenance of a seemingly permanent, worldwide, growing underclass of migrant, underpaid, exploited, short-term workers, the “precariat.” Their jobs and social positions are just that: precarious. This group includes millions of people from rural China who flock to the cities to work for low wages, women in many places working service jobs without contracts, and youth disenfranchised by a lack of opportunities for a career or even a stable job. Standing explains how globalization forced them into this way of life and argues for their reintegration into mainstream society. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends his important, eye-opening and groundbreaking report to students, NGO officials, policy makers, CEOs, HR personnel, and anyone delving into business, politics and the consequences of globalization.


Neoliberals, Globalization and Emerging Social Classes

The 1980s ushered in the age of neoliberal economic philosophy, which holds that the marketplace should infiltrate “all aspects of life” and that competition must drive every decision. Neoliberals oppose labor unions, state control and regulation. They seek to do business worldwide without restriction, anywhere they can profit. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher implemented neoliberal ideas concerning deregulation and dog-eat-dog markets.

Neoliberals believe in “labor market flexibility,” which means businesses should be free to find workers in whatever country’s costs are lowest. In turn, people follow work, within and across borders. Expanding “globalization” increases the number of low-paid, rootless workers and reshapes society into new stratifications. A new structure of classes is coming into view. Those at the bottom know little about the companies they work for, their colleagues, or how long a job or wage might last. Because they live precariously, they are called the “precariat.” They are “denizens,” not citizens. Lacking the prospects of a career or a reliable home base, they face “uncertainty, ...

About the Author

Professor of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, Guy Standing also wrote A Precariat Charter and Basic Income: A Transformative Policy for India.

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    J. L. 7 years ago
    This is just socialist propaganda. Why not pursue the truth?
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    E. C. 7 years ago
    Excellent analysis, the proposed "basic income", a noble idea, is extremely dangerous in the hands of populist governments.