Precarity – It Isn’t about Employment, It Is the Economy, Stupid…

From the printer
Herrmann, Peter, 2018: Precarity – It Isn’t about Employment, It Is the Economy, Stupid…
in:
No3 (209)/2018: 73-73
Издается с 1992 года Выходит 4 раза в год
DOI: 10.24411/ISSN. 1999-9836
НАУЧНО-ПРАКТИЧЕСКИЙ ЖУРНАЛ
(scroll for English abstract)
Аннотация 

На прекаризацию обычно ссылаются как на проблему заня- тости и увеличения неуверенности и нестабильности су- ществования труда в качестве безопасной и предсказуемой основы социоэкономической безопасности – впоследствии мы обнаруживаем нестабильность включения, цельности и полномочий (и/или понимания). Намекая на лозунг «Это эко- номика, глупыш», который использовался в президентской компании Билла Клинтона в 1992 году, данный лозунг исполь- зован в заголовке публикуемой статьи: «Прекаризация – это не безработица, глупыш». Этот тезис звучит в таком объ- еме в обсуждении прекаризации как нестандартное понима- ние экономики, основанное на четырёх базовых принципах: денежная прибыль, экономический рост, конкуренция и заня- тость. Реальный вызов заключается в обращении к ограни- чениям данного базиса из четырёх частей, который преобла- дает в современной социологии, а именно методологический индивидуализм, методологический национализм, методоло- гический солюционизм и методологический презентизм. Объект исследования. Анализ неустойчивой занятости. Предмет исследования. Изменение методологических требований.

Цель исследования. Выявление недостатков существую- щей методологии социологии и перспективы альтернатив- ных направлений методологии.
Основные положения статьи. Определение метода пре- каризации в рамках меняющейся экономической формации.

Ключевые слова: неустойчивая занятость; методология со- циологии; экономика и общество; социальное качество; труд.

Abstract

Precarity is commonly referred to as matter of employment and the increasing insecurity and instability of obtaining labour as secure and predictable foundation of socio-economic security – subsequently we find instability of inclusion, cohesiveness and empowerment (and/or perception). Alluding to the slogan «the economy, stupid» which had been guiding Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992, the slogan brought forward is here «Precarity – it isn’t employment, stupid». The thesis is that much of the debate on precarity is referring to a curtailed understanding of the economy, based in four main pillars: monetary gain, growth, competition and employment. The real challenge lies in addressing the limitations of the quadriga that dominates modern social science, namely methodological individualism, methodological nationalism, methodological solutionism and methodological presentism.

The Object of the Study: Analysing precarious employment
The Subject of the Study: Change of Methodological Requirements
The Purpose of the Study: Identifying flaws of existing methodology of social science and perspectives for alternatives The main Provisions of the Article: Locating precarity within the framework of a changing economic formation

Keywords: precarious employment; methodology of social science; economy and society; social quality; work.

Annunci

CFP – 10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?

 

European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

Call for Papers and Participation

24th Annual Conference on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?

extended SUBMISSION-Date: 31.5.2018

Dear colleagues

This year’s EuroMemo Group conference will be jointly hosted with the University of Helsinki and will take place on 27-29 September 2018 (Thursday-Saturday) at the University of Helsinki.

Against the background of an increasingly alarming influence of right-wing nationalist and populist forces, the conference wants to facilitate discussion on progressive ideas, concepts and policies, on how to reconstruct a political integration project in Europe that is responsive to the economic and social needs of all groups and people affected by the severe economic crisis of the last ten years, and in particular of workers, the unemployed, the precariat, migrants and other vulnerable groups, also in a gender perspective.

The programme will be as follows:

Thursday, September 27th 201

15.00 – 19.00    Opening plenary on the state of the Union

20.00                Conference Dinner

Friday, September 28th 2018

10.00 – 13.30    Workshops on key themes of EU policy

14.30 – 16.00    Plenary on policy proposals from workshops

16.15 – 18.00    Special plenary on the conference topic ’10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?’

Saturday, September 29th 2018

09.00 – 12.00    Planning meeting: EuroMemorandum 2019 and other activities 

There will be a public event prior to the conference on September 27th 2018:

13.00 – 14.30    ‘The future of the EMU’ (organised by the University of Helsinki)

We would like to invite you to attend the conference and to submit proposals for contributions to the workshops.

All papers that present an original perspective on the conference theme ’10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?’ are welcome. In particular, we encourage submissions that relate to recent European developments and are specific to one of the following topics

–        Macroeconomic and financial policies

–        Politics of structural reforms: critique and alternatives

–        Economic and political divergences in the EU

–        Social policies in Europe

–        Migration policies and demographic change

–        Nordic welfare model: crisis, erosion, prospects

–        Crisis of the global political economy & world politics: the role of the EU (protectionism, trade wars)

–        Conceptual frameworks and aspects of popular political economy as well as policy proposals for instance with respect to productive transformation, industrial policy, the solidarity economy etc.

–        Socio-ecological transformation and a good life for all

–        New democratic challenges to the status quo: what can we learn from the left-alliance government in Portugal, the labour party under Jeremy Corbyn, the Podemos project in Spain and other similar cases?

Proposals for papers together with a short abstract (maximum 250 words) should be submitted by 15 May 2018to info@euromemo.eu. If possible, please indicate the topic which the proposal is intended for. If accepted, completed papers should be submitted by 06 September 2018

We strongly encourage participants to submit short papers (10-12 pages) and to explicitly address policy implications.

If you would like to submit an abstract and/ or participate in the conference, please copy the registration form below into an email and reply to info@euromemo.eu. Please note that there is no deadline for registering for participation only.

All submitted abstracts will be reviewed by the Steering Committee of the EuroMemo Group. Accepted papers will be published on the conference website and there is also the possibility to publish papers presented at the conference within the EuroMemo Group Discussion Paper Series.

Please note that there will be a conference fee collected at the venue to cover the cost of the conference (30 Euro regular fee / 10 Euro for students / 80 Euro for participants with institutional support).

An information sheet with practical information including details about hotel bookings and transport is attached. Early booking is strongly recommended.

We look forward to seeing you in Helsinki!

Best wishes,
from the EuroMemo Group

Marija Bartl, Joachim Becker, Marcella Corsi, Wlodzimierz Dymarski, Trevor Evans, Marica Frangakis, John Grahl, Peter Herrmann, Aimilia Koukouma, Jeremy Leaman, Jacques Mazier, Agustín Menéndez, Mahmood Messkoub, Ronen O’Brien, Werner Raza, Catherine Sifakis, Achim Truger, Frieder Otto Wolf

European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe
EuroMemo Group 
E-Mail    >>  info@euromemo.eu
Internet  >>  http://www.euromemo.eu
Registration form for the 24th Workshop on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

(please reply to info@euromemo.eu)

 

Yes, I intend to participate in the 24th Workshop on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

(27-29 September 2018 in Helsinki)

First Name:

Last Name:

Institution:

City:

e-mail:

Yes, I wish to contribute a paper

Title of the Paper:

Abstract (max. 250 words):

A Debate

It is – in its own right – an interesting question why and how some ‘books make a career’ – in this case referring to Mazzucato’s ‘The Entrepreneurial State’. I am always skeptical when hearing about such ‘bestsellers’ and actually really hesitant to read, let alone to buy them. Having been invited to take part in a debate on the book I read the text – and now I am somewhat surmised to see that my ‘prejudice’ is in actual fact very much a ‘judice’, i.e. a reflection confirmed by this reading experience. There is not much new in it – it surely summarises important points, and even more sure is that it’s radical character has to be seen in ensuring that there will be no radical change.

Some points from the debate my be of some wider interest – and what follows is not a systematic critique of Mazzucato’s work or even one of the ‘one book’.
The foundation from which her argument is developed remains by and large unclear: there is a bit of economics, some political economy, some political theory and some philosophy and … a lot of confusion caused by not developing from all the wealth of borrowings a systemic approach. Thus, the possible wealth of a merger is lost to eclecticism. And the loss – or wasted opportunity – is even larger when considering the shallow reception of some of the references … – yes, of course, the Smithian ‘invisible hand’, which is taken out of its original context and supposedly suggests that Smith rejected any state intervention – generally and fundamentally and for everybody and at any time. It is not quite true, and leaving aside that there is a
Book V: Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth
there is in my reading of Smith another relevant point. He left with us another major piece of work, namely the
THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS. An Essay towards an Analysis of the Principles by which Men naturally judge concerning the Conduct and Character, first of their Neighbours, and afterwards of themselves. TO WHICH IS ADDED, A Differentiation on the Origin of Language
In some way this was one of the genius acts: splitting the task in order to maintain through the backdoor its unity … – and much later this allowed him, namely Smith, to turn up in Beijing, with this remark I am obviously alluding to the highly interesting book
ADAM SMITH IN BEIJING. Lineages of the Twenty-First Century by Giovanni Arrighi. 
Discussing in this context secular stagnation: if one really wants to address this in a radical way, one has to take note of much more radical views, as expressed already a long time ago, for instance by Keynes – here reference is usually made to his writing on the
Economic Possibilities of our Grandchildren
and even earlier by Mill [for instance in chapter xi ‘Of the Law of the Increase of Capital’ in his
Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy].
Such radical ideas, however, are just what Mazzucato strictly rejects – instead she searches for ways that ensure that there is no ‘quasi-blasphemic’ attitude and politics towards the gods of eternal growth. And her proposal is that, if laymen’s activities are not sufficient, the entrepreneurial state could emerge as high priest, collecting the lost sheep, developing new grazing lands for their new thriving.
Indeed, there are interesting facts on the cowardliness of the stray sheep …, risk averse behaviour which are expressed in the statement
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,
allegedly said 1943 by Thomas Watson, chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM). The entirety of the  story, beyond the exiting individual chapters, is not much more than overcoming the stagnation of the history of great men by pulling now women on the same stage, while actually the real problems are about the need of changing the stage. Green growth remains commodity growth, regulated and controlled data extraction remains data extraction, prone to abuse and in need of a real public, common ownership, going much beyond the provision of a seedbed for renewed private profitability, retrieving new sources of value production needs a new understanding of what value is about, going beyond the concept of exchange values only.
The one fundamental problem with the work I see is as follows: As one of the colleagues mentioned during the discussion here in Vienna, he reads the text as reference to the rejection of private entrepreneurs to accept sitting down at the roulette table. And I would agree with such interpretation to some extent – to the extent to which we are talking about the simple game, played by simple minds. The limitation of such metaphor is soon showing up: While accepting ‘The Entrepreneurial State’, thus following Mazzucato’s suggestion, we would be accepting the specific hegemony, i.e. the need and justification of downgrading ourselves to the Dostoyevsky’ian Gamblers, in other words: the acceptance of a new round of what became known as casino capitalism.
It is the acceptance of the reality that I saw expressed in the slogan which was spray-painted on one o the walls:
…. Human capital of all countries, accumulate …

Populism – more than a political trend?

The debate on populism and he New Right surely needs considerations that go beyond political and institionalist considerations, not least looking at the political economy in which it stands and that stands as firm wall behind it. In preparation of a workshop later this year, organised by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation, I developed some reflections which surely need further elaborations but may be already at this stage worthwhile tobe read. The beginning goes like this.

The fundamental first question is if we can still speak of a political left and right. And a definitive affirmation is underlying the main argument of the following. The reason for raising this issue is not the general ‘totalitarianism doctrine’ but its specific resurgence based on the view of both, left and right, being populist-authoritarian – as such, the currently fashionable argument is actually not referring to any concept of totalitarianism in the normally suggested understanding. Instead, Dalio et altera insinuate that ‘[p]opulism is a political and social phenomenon that arises from the common man being fed up with 1) wealth and opportunity gaps, 2) perceived cultural threats from those with different values in the country and from outsiders, 3) the “establishment elites” in positions of power, and 4) government not working effectively for them. These sentiments lead that constituency to put strong leaders in power.’[1] They interpreted this as ‘a rebellion of the common man against the elites and, to some extent, against the system.’[2] There is on the other hand too little concern with more detailed analysis, i.e. an analysis that engages as well openly in the contradictory nature of the shifts in the political landscape, and the fact that we should not be simply concerned with ‘enemy bashing’ but instead – looking at the details – we have to move towards searching for concrete utopias as alternative.[3] In fact that requires also that the left fully returns to sound arguments, not denying any problems nor suggesting arguments on the basis of moral sentiments.

And the further elaboration – as far as it stands now – can be found here. Of course, start of a debate, not final statement on an issue.

=====

[1] Dalio, Ray et altera; Bridgewater Associates, 2017, March 22: Populism: The Phenomenon; Bridgewater. Daily Observations: 2; https://www.bridgewater.com/resources/bwam032217.pdf; 31/03/17

[2] Ibid.

[3] see in this context an interesting study, on Italy, problematising the background in the overall political patterns, past and present, not least issuing the secular changes of the political culture: The Economist. Intelligence Unit, 2017, March 24th: More fragmentation: back to the first republic?; http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=265252810&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWVdJM1pUTXpZamMzTm1JMyIsInQiOiI0bzU0Tmlad2xyVlVqUms2K3diSVJxNUt1c1RVdU1SUzVsZzRTRWpvcEhFa0U5cnBVaFBvbUY1YVBhaDNzRFU0cW5lY1A4SHRZd1JOMHZVa3J0WWFTMDF2UGhYckxcL2QyUkZpRnBVNDZyaGdBUWF3N3FyZHE5VWowXC84R0xLXC9KMSJ9; 31/03/17; see in this context also Anderson, Perry, 2017, March: Why the system will still win; in: Le Monde diplomatique; https://mondediplo.com/2017/03/02brexit; 02/04/17; Anderson, meaning populist movements from>>>> the right speaks of ‘anti-systemic movements’