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A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens

Date: 11 Nov 2014

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta: The first attempt to limit the powers of the King of England by law and protect the rights of his subjects, in a document imposed on him by those very subjects.

It is time, according to Guy Standing, for a Precariat Charter.

In his 2011 book, Guy Standing introduced us to the precariat: An increasingly global social phenomenon, an emerging mass class characterized by insecurities and lack of occupational identity, doing labour beneath its educational level and experiencing a systematic erosion of rights. The precariat rejects old mainstream political agendas: part of it is attracted by populists playing on people’s fears; part is searching for a new progressive politics.

In his presentation, he discusses how rights—political, civil, social, cultural and economic—have been denied to the precariat, and explains how it is moving from “dangerous class” to “class-for-itself”. He then goes on to consider the kind of progressive politics that might form the vision of a Good Society in which inequality, and the instability it produces, is reduced. The Precariat Charter that he proposes is a programme to revive the Great Trinity of freedom, equality and fraternity, and advance emancipatory income redistribution.

Speaker: Guy Standing, Professor of Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is former Director of the Socio-Economic Security Programme of the International Labour Organization

Chair: Magdalena Sepúlveda, UNRISD Visiting Fellow and former UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

Photo by Marquette LaForest via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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