Guy Standing is Professorial Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies< University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences and co-founder and now honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), an international NGO that promotes basic income.
He was previously Professor of Development Studies in SOAS, Professor of Economic Security, University of Bath, Professor of Labour Economics, Monash University, and Director of the ILO's Socio-Economic Security Programme. He has been a consultant for many international bodies, including UNICEF, UNCTAD, UNDP, the European Commission and the World Bank, has worked with SEWA in India for many years, and was Director of Research for President Mandela's Labour Market Policy Commission.
His career has combined being in the United Nations, being an activist (working for SEWA, et al, and steering BIEN), and being an academic. He is on the editorial boards of a number of academic journals, including Development and Change, Work, Employment and Society and the Indian Journal of Labour Economics.
His recent books include The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011), which has been translated into 19 languages; A Precariat Charter (2014); with others, Basic Income - A Transformative Policy for India, and The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay (2016). His latest book is Basic Income: And how we can make it happen (Pelican, Penguin, 2017).
The Precariat under Rentier Capitalism: Why Basic Income is Vital
We are in the midst of the Global Transformation, at the crisis point, living in an era of rentier capitalism, when the economic returns to property – physical, financial and ‘intellectual’ – are rising remorselessly, while income from labour is declining. The income distribution system of the 20th century has broken down.
Work is not disappearing. But a new global class structure is taking shape in which the precariat is growing rapidly and experiencing heavier workloads, stagnant earnings and growing insecurities. The precariat is today’s ‘dangerous class’, and is becoming angrier amidst multiple forms of insecurity.
To complicate matters more, the United States under Donald Trump is trying to restore its previous hegemonic status in a global economy in which China is emerging as an economic giant and a rentier economy in its own right.
This presentation will indicate the nature of rentier capitalism.1 Then it will define the precariat and why it is becoming the ‘dangerous class’, in both negative and positive ways, in every part of the world.2 Class matters. Finally, it will explain why a basic income is essential as an anchor of a new distribution system in a work-based Good Society.3
1G.Standing, The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers thrive and Work does not pay (London and New York, Biteback, 2017).
2G.Standing, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (London: Bloomsbury, 2011 and 2017). This is available in Chinese as well as in many other languages.
3G.Standing, Basic Income: And how we can make it happen (London, Pelican, 2017).