, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 588–608 | Cite as

The Precariat: From Denizens to Citizens?

  • Guy Standing
Symposium Article


Liberalized markets promoted by the Washington Consensus under globalization have resulted in a global class structure in which new groups have emerged, including a precariat consisting of millions of people subject to flexible, insecure labor relations. The precariat is a class-in-the-making, in that the global market system wants most workers to be flexible and insecure, even if it is not yet a class-for-itself, having a clear vision of what type of society it wishes to see emerge. It is not an underclass. This article traces the factors explaining its growth and considers which demographic groups have the highest probability of being in it. The essay then considers two possible political scenarios—a politics of inferno, if current negative trends are allowed to continue, and a politics of paradise, a set of policies that would be essential to arrest those negative trends.


globalization precariat class labor flexibility insecurity basic income 

Copyright information

© Northeastern Political Science Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy Standing
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Bath

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