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Precariat in a post-socialist context

Presentation to the EuSoc 11 kongress, in Telc
by

Telek Elek

on 12 October 2012

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Transcript of Precariat in a post-socialist context

- People within precarious work conditions


-Victims of the growing precariousness -Flexibilisation (numerical, functional etc.)- effect of globalistaion
-Commodification of companies
-Flexibility of capital, offshore
-Outsourcing
-Growing rate of expected labor for work
-Tertiarisation
-Growing unemployment rates
-Spread of atypical working relations
-Change from welfare to workfare policies
-The decline of social mobility and perspectives
-Dismantling of the public sector Growing insecurity and precariousness
-The triangle of livelihood, identity and status - based on wage-earning employment relation (Simonyi)
-normal-working relation (Berger) became the reality for the significant majority of the society
-„this wage-earning society constitutes the sociological foundation of the western societies.” (Castel)
-welfare state - securities related to the institutionalisation of the
wage-earning relation Wage-earning Society People who identify themselves
with the precariat movement Labour market security – Adequate income-earning opportunities; at the macro-level, this is epitomised by a government commitment to ‘full employment’.
Employment security – Protection against arbitrary dismissal, regulations on hiring and firing, imposition of costs on employers for failing to adhere to rules and so on.
Job security – Ability and opportunity to retain a niche in employment, plus barriers to skill dilution, and opportunities for ‘upward’ mobility in terms of status and income.
Work security – Protection against accidents and illness at work, through, for example, safety and health regulations, limits on working time, unsociable hours, night work for women, as well as compensation for mishaps.
Skill reproduction security – Opportunity to gain skills, through apprenticeships, employment training and so on, as well as opportunity to make use of competencies.
Income security – Assurance of an adequate stable income, protected through, for example, minimum wage machinery, wage indexation, comprehensive social security, progressive taxation to reduce inequality and to supplement low incomes.
Representation security – Possessing a collective voice in the labour market, through, for example, independent trade unions, with a right to strike. PRECARIAT Compare to what? Post-war consensus, 'trente glorieuse' seventies, oil-crises
the emergence of neo-liberalism Neoliberalism is a political ideological project of a class seeking to change the balance of power in global capitalism and create new means of capital accumulation (Harvey)

... describes a range of highly interested policies that have brought enormous wealth to the owners of the means of production, while inficting insecurity, the loss of public services and a general deterioriation in the quality of life on workers and the poor (Harvey) How to find new securities - i.e. how to reduce the potentially (at the given level of technological development) inevitable distress of the people ?!
(the frankfurt school) -„We forget that the wage-earning relation, which is the reality for the very majority today, and to which are attached most of the protections against social risks, for long time was one of the most uncertain, as the most disgraceful and destitute situation.” (Castel)

-"If we look at capitalism in a wider historical and geographical scope, it is precarity that is the norm and not Fordist economic organization" (Neilson) How it happened? -the constitutive role played by labor movements in the development of welfare state and democracy
-proletariat (ideological concept and as a social group)
-balance of power between
capital and labor Precariat in the
post socialist context presentation to be
heard not to be
[fully]
agreed to be
understood Post-socialist context Collapse of Communism : straight line from ’A’ to ’B’.

Most of the problems – as distress of the population – is provisional. An economic shock comparable to the Great Depression „Workers are important for one very reason: communism produced an industrial society, not post-industrial one. When the system collapsed [...] none of the characteristic features of fin de millenium postindustrialism dying factories, a booming service sector, declining cities, burgeoning suburbs - was anywhere in evidence." (OST) „[The workers] weren’t players in this transformation, only the “played." Not subjects but objects. Their plight might be morally regrettable, but that did not matter as far as politics and democracy were concerned. Indeed for most social scientists the only way workers seemed to “matter” was as a potential obstacle to democratization." (OST) The population became the victim of a lose of perspectives, a shrinking living-standard, growing inequalities and defenselessness.: the victim of a vague of precarisation. Industrial societies Workers are the obstacle of democracy

Historically the fighter for the democracy The growing rage felt because of precarisation
and insecurity are canalised by extreme right
movements "The magnitude and duration of the transition recession was, for all countries, comparable to that for developed countries during the Great Depression, and for most of them it was much worse." in.:Transition - The First Ten Years Analysis and Lessons for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, Washington , DC World Bank, 2002, 3.p. Sociological and political challenge Thank you For You
Patience -"„A century ago, democratization was synonymous with the entry of workers (“the masses”) into politics, which is why conservatives so opposed democracy. Workers were the ones demanding inclusion, and their success in winning it meant the expansion of democracy."(Ost)
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