"The new class is the precariat; unless the progressives of the world offer a politics of paradise, that class will be all too prone to listen to the sirens luring society onto the rocks. Centrists will join in supporting a new progressive consensus because they have nowhere else to go. The sooner they join, the better. The precariat is not victim, villain or hero-it is just a lot of us."
The Precariat, 2011, p. 315.
Guy Standing is a Professorial Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and a founder member and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), a non-governmental organisation that promotes a basic income for all. Standing has emerged as a zeitgeist figure and his work on the precariat is essential reading for critical youth studies. Precarity refers to lives “dominated by insecurity, uncertainty, debt and humiliation.” He has observed the spread of uprisings around the globe, from the Arab Uprisings in 2011 to Indignados in Spain, Occupy movements and the list goes on. He says, "We want to revolt, but we don’t know how." In his books and talks Standing provides a lucid explanation of precarity and offers viable ways that people, together, can reclaim lives of stability, security and dignity.
The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class has achieved cult status as the first account of this emerging class of people, facing lives of insecurity, moving in and out of jobs that give little meaning to their lives. 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.