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Guy Standing warns that the rapid growth of the precariat is producing instabilities in society. It is a dangerous class because it is internally divided, leading to the villainisation of migrants and other vulnerable groups. And, lacking agency, its members may be susceptible to the siren calls of political extremism. He argues for a new politics, in which redistribution and income security are reconfigured and in which the fears and aspirations of the precariat are made central to a progressive strategy.
Since first publication of this book in 2011, the precariat has become an ever more significant global phenomenon, highly visible in the Occupy movement and in protest movements around the world.
In a new preface Guy Standing discusses such developments - are they indicative of the emergence of a new collective spirit, or do they simply reveal the growing size and growing anger of this new class?
It's possible that a society of educated people is likely to be more cultured and scientific-minded than one of non-graduates, and this should have positive externalities in the form of better political discourse and higher culture. There is, however, little evidence of this in practice.
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