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The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class Paperback – 11 Apr 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (11 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849663513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849663519
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

A very important book. --Noam Chomsky

One of 2011's most insightful books. --John Harris, the Guardian

This is an important book. --Citizen's Income Newsletter

About the Author

Guy Standing is Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath. He was previoiusly Professor of Labour Economics at Monash University and before that Director of the Socio-Economic Security Programme of the International Labour Organization. He is co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network. His recent books include 'Work after Globalization: Building Occupational Citizenship' (2009) and 'Beyond the New Paternalism: Basic Security as Equality' (2002).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Diziet on 23 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The imposition of neoliberal economic policies and the globalisation of trade, finance and increasingly labour over the last 30 years has resulted in some pretty devastating changes. And some of the biggest changes have been in the class structures of many modern states. It is increasingly difficult to identify a 'proletariat' in the sense of a homogeneous class of people involved in factory-based mass production. Even in the burgeoning manufacturing sectors of countries such as China, the nature of the 'traditional' classes has fundamentally changed.

Guy Standing considers that we are now in a 'tertiary time', that societies have undergone a process of 'tertiarisation'. No longer is time divided between work, play and rest. And no longer is our geography divided between workplace, home and leisure. Everything, in Zygmunt Baumann's term, has become more 'liquid', less hard-defined. And in this post-modern and thoroughly commodified era, the homogeneous classes have given way to something far more fluid, heterogeneous and potentially dangerous.

There are now essentially four classes. There is a numerically tiny super-rich elite whose relationship with the rest of humanity appears fleeting at best. Then there is the 'salariat', still maintaining their career privileges of pensions, holidays and other employment benefits. Alongside the salariat there are the professional technicians, or 'proficians' as Standing terms them. Often working as highly-paid consultants and contractors, they do not conform to the old 9 to 5, jobs-for-life pattern but move from job to job, company to company as desired/required.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Michael JE Bowditch on 3 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a good starting point for anyone who's interested in how the way we work and live is changing, and makes a compelling case for a basic income. Standing is sympathetic to the challenges faced by those not perfectly suited to mainstream society and illustrates the problem with good perspective. It's not perfect and can be a little repetitive but it's worth a read and has strongly resonated with some of the feelings I've had for a long time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jezza on 2 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
Part of this book are great; other parts are a bit weak. I think that’s partly because, as an engaged academic, Guy Standing is not entirely sure whether he ought to have written a call to action or a rigorous academic text. The book has ended up falling between two stalls. It’s clearly written, without lots of sociological jargon. There’s some really good analysis of what it means to live in the precariat – all the ways that one is in deficit compared to workers who sell their labour power in a more secure employment environment. The section on migration and migrants is really outstanding and should be required reading for everyone who purports to be on the left.

But the final chapter, the ‘what is to be done’, is really weak. The only practical suggestion is that the precariat form coops to sell their labour collectively instead of individually. Leaving aside the issue of whether any employer who currently buys labour from precarious employees would want to contract with a worker-owned coop, this is a very partial solution to all the issues that Standing correctly identifies. I think he’s too quick to write off trade unions as a vehicle for precariat organising, and I’d like to see some understanding of what the IWW did to organise workers like this.

This points to the main deficit in the book – an almost total lack of historical perspective. To me the precariat sounds a lot like the classical Marxist ‘reserve army of labour’, and to the people that Gareth Stedman Jones described in Outcast London. Arguably the (albeit temporary) triumph of labourism and social democracy was due to its ability to weld the respectable working class and the dangerous class into an alliance.
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By Amazon Customer on 11 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thought provoking but not an easy read.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By GrahamM on 28 April 2014
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I knew about the 'Precariat' before I read this book, but I didn't realise quite how bad things are.
Although Guy Standing thinks the Precariat could be dangerous in the future, I do not share his optimism. I think things are going to get worse.
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