The opening keynote at People vs Profiteers: Demanding Justice and Equity, the Parkland Institute's 18th Annual Conference (November 21-23, 2014).
A Precariat Charter: A Progressive Agenda for today’s Dangerous Class
Inequality is and always has been about class. Globalisation, technological changes and the neo-liberal economic model have combined to generate a new global class structure, in which the largest rapidly growing class is the precariat. Mired in insecurities, this can be defined in terms of distinctive relations of production, distinctive relations of distribution and distinctive relations to the state. It is a class-in-the-making, not yet a class-for-itself, and it is a dangerous class because it is internally divided into three factions and because all three are rejecting the mainstream political establishments.
What is needed is a new progressive agenda that could unite enough of the components of the precariat and offer the hope that the precariat could become strong enough to force the state to abolish the conditions that define its existence. This talk will outline a Precariat Charter, consisting of policies and institutional changes that would strengthen the precariat’s freedom, reduce the chronic insecurity that it faces and redistribute the key assets in order to shape a Good Society for the 21st century. The presentation will draw on a recent book, A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens.
Guy Standing is Professor of Economics at SOAS, University of London, and was previously Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath and Professor of Labour Economics at Monash University in Melbourne. Before that, he was Director of the ILO’s Socio-Economic Security Programme (1999-2005) and Director of the ILO’s Labour Market Policies Branch.
An economist, with a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, and a Master’s Degree in industrial relations from the University of Illinois, he is a founder and co-President of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), an NGO promoting basic income as a right, with members in over 50 countries. He has been adviser and consultant to many international agencies, including the UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank, European Commission and DFID, as well as many governments and trades unions. In 1995-96, he was research director for President Mandela’s Labour Market Policy Commission, when he co-authored, with John Sender and John Weeks, Restructuring the Labour Market – The South African Challenge.
Recent books are The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (Bloomsbury, 2011), Social Income and Insecurity in Gujarat (Routledge, 2010), and Work after Globalization: Building Occupational Citizenship (Elgar, 2009). The Precariat has been translated into thirteen languages.
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Health Sciences Association of Alberta
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