Wednesday, April 13, 2011
British economist Guy Standing has a new book on the Precariat, people living and working precariously in short-term jobs without benefits or social protections. Standing says that a way to a better society would be to have an unconditional basic income for everyone, contributed by the state, augmented through employment. A basic income would allow people to gain control over their time rather than rush feverishly from activity to activity. We would enjoy leisure. Hence my rallying cry “Shirkers of the World, Unite!” when I discussed Standing’s work yesterday at an event at Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Larry Mishel, EPI’s President introduced the event, which also featured noted labor scholars Heidi Hartmann and Eileen Appelbaum. Guy Standing’s previous book, Work After Globalization, has fascinating material—I heartily recommend it. It’s what I thought economics would be all about when I signed up for it some thirty years ago.
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