Posts Tagged ‘Precariat’

The dangerous new ‘precariat’ class

October 28, 2014

Millions of people in the USA and other industrial countries are living paycheck to paycheck.  There are millions more for whom being able to live paycheck to paycheck would be a considerable improvement.

The people in this second group, “the precariat,” don’t know from week to week whether they’ll be able to work or how much they’ll earn.   From the perspective of the elite, that means a “flexible” labor force, which from their perspective is a good thing.  But the flexibility is all on the part of workers, not of managers or holders of financial assets.

Prof. Guy Standing of the University of London said the precariat class is growing in all industrial countries.  This class consists of three categories of people—sons and daughters of blue collar workers who had secure jobs, migrants and minorities who live on the fringe of society, and college graduates who find themselves unable to work in their fields.

Few of them participate in politics because they’re too busy just scrambling to make a living.  They’re divided among themselves, with the children of the middle class sometimes blaming minorities and migrants for their plight.

But they’re discontented, and while their discontent mostly takes the form of violent protest, Standing thinks that, under the leadership of the educated part of the precariat, they could become a powerful force.

The militarization of the police, the spread of universal surveillance and the criminalization of dissent indicate that a lot of people in authority think the same thing.

  LINK

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing for Working Class Perspectives  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)