On Standing's A Precariat Charter: Confronting the Precaritisation of Labour in Brazil and Portugal
Guy Standing’s new book, A Precariat Charter, does not allow us to forget that we live under the shadow of the “precariat” – a group of people who are deprived of any work-related guarantees, subjected to uncertain income, and without a collective identity that is rooted in a labour world. Among the many merits of his most recent book, Standing reports the damaging effects suffered by a substantial section of the European trade union movement. At the root of this decline is labour’s submission to a socially irresponsible and environmentally unsustainable model of development. First, I will examine the book from a Southern perspective. The data and examples that Standing provide pertain largely to changing working-class relations in advanced capitalist countries. In contrast, I will focus my attention on the metamorphosis of the working class in the Global South – particularly Brazil – during the post-Fordist era in order to raise questions about the class character of the precariat.
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