Precarity for All

Post-Neoliberalism. Pathways for Transformative Economics and Politics
OSUN Economic Democracy Initiative Logo
Published: 29 Nov, 2023

An epidemic of precarity is engulfing our societies. Insecurity, instability, and uncertainty are hallmarks of modern life, inevitable consequences of humanity’s ambition to author its own destiny. In contrast, precarity – a peculiar form of politically generated and hence perfectly avoidable disempowerment – is the hallmark of the 21st century.

The emergence of a novel social pathology at the dawn of the new millennium was quietly signaled by the arrival of a new entry in the English-language dictionaries: precarity. The term first appeared in the Collins Dictionary in 2017, then in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018, as a sign that the existing concept, precariousness, is somehow deficient in conveying the nature of the vulnerability that has beset societies. While most reference books tend to equate the two terms, the Oxford Dictionary has added, as a second connotation, "a state of not having a secure job or income, especially over a long period of time". Indeed, the insecurity of livelihoods is at the heart of precarity as a singular social pathology.

Der Kapitalismus steht am Rande einer Nervenkrise

(in german)
ND Journalismus Von Links
ND Journalismus Von Links Logo
Published: 15 Nov, 2021

Wo finden wir Sicherheit?

(in german)
Zeit Online
Die Zeit Logo
Published: 11 Sep, 2021

Eine Erfahrung der Verunsicherung dringt gegenwärtig in alle Poren unserer Biografien ein und gewinnt an Macht über uns. Auch im politischen Sinne: Das angstvolle Dilemma, ob wir lieber die Sicherheit oder doch die Freiheit wählen, wird den künftigen Kurs der liberalen Demokratien bestimmen. Wohl oder übel schränken wir unsere Bewegungsfreiheit ein, wenn die Regierungen im Namen der öffentlichen Gesundheit und Sicherheit neue Einschränkungen beschließen, die Überwachung ausbauen oder auch Strafen verhängen. Die Proteste wiederum entladen sich im Namen der Freiheit – der Freiheit, ungehindert unserem hektischen Leben nachzugehen.

Wir werden einen Weg aus dem Kapitalismus finden müssen

(in german)
Zeit Online
Die Zeit Logo
Published: 26 Jun, 2021

Capitalism at a Crossroads

IWM Post
IWM Logo
Published: Spring 2021

Western democracies are at the tipping point of a tectonic policy shift; our societies are ready to venture into a new direction. Where should we go from here? If we want to advance, we need to abandon these blueprints of capitalism, socialism, or the right mix of the two, and think afresh.

Safe speech vs free speech: higher education’s false dilemma

openDemocracy Logo
Published: 26 Apr, 2021

In the ‘cancel culture’ era, universities should remember that the original purpose of free speech was to empower the weak, not to shelter them

"Sicurezza" contro "libertà" di parola: il falso dilemma dell’istruzione superiore

(in Italian)
Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera Logo
Published: 13 Apr, 2021

Universities in the US and UK have become a battleground in the war between safe speech / places and freedom of expression. My thesis is that this is a false dilemma. Understanding it will allow us to identify the social forces that dictate it.

Bad Stimulus: Government Payments to Individuals Are a Terrible Way to Solve America’s Structural Economic Problems

(syndicated publication)

with Marshall Auerback

Independent Media Institute
Independent Media Institute Logo
Published: 4 Mar, 2021

Most commentary on the Biden stimulus plan has focused on some of the programs or the overall level of spending, and not the structure and philosophy. This article describes why continuing a classic neoliberal approach is at best a band-aid.

L’inégalité n’est que le symptôme d’un problème bien plus grave: la précarité

(La chronique de Carta Academica)
Le Soir
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Published: 20 Feb, 2021

Inégalités flagrantes vs fragilités invisibles La croissance des inégalités était au centre de l’actualité avant la pandémie de Covid-19. Celle-ci a encore gagné en importance: «L’augmentation de la richesse de 10 hommes pendant la pandémie permettrait d’acheter des vaccins pour tous» (selon un récent rapport d’Oxfam). Il ne fait aucun doute que la crise sanitaire et le confinement ont affecté de la pire manière les travailleurs peu qualifiés et leur appauvrissement devrait nous inquiéter tous.

What the Congressional Budget Office Doesn’t Get: About a $15-an-hour minimum wage, unemployment, and why a low-wage economy is bad for everyone

with Marshall Auerback

The Nation
The Nation Logo
Published: 17 Feb, 2021

The Congressional Budget Office’s assessment of President Biden’s proposed increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour is both predictable and disappointing. While acknowledging that 27 million people would get a raise (which would help alleviate a poverty rate that now stands at 11.8 percent), the CBO makes the questionable claim that there would be 1.4 million jobs lost. Hence it scores the proposal negatively, as a net cost to the government of $54 billion over 10 years.

Fighting precarity: a paradigm shift from equality-in-prosperity to solidarity-in-wellbeing

(Notes on a political economy of trust)
The Progressive Post
The Progressive Post Logo
Published: 15 Feb, 2021

We stand at a pivotal point in history – one that contains the opportunity to replace the equality-in-prosperity formula of progressive politics with a new one: solidarity-in-wellbeing. For the past 100 years, the critique of capitalism has centred on unfair distributive outcomes (economic inequality), as well as the damage that consumerism and the commitment to economic growth cause on human life, society and the natural environment. Solutions have ranged from wealth redistribution and increased worker representation in companies’ decision-making bodies, to socialisation of the production process (via collectivisation of property ownership), and ‘green growth’ by way of replacing fossil fuels with clean energy sources.

It’s the Economic Precarity, Stupid

with Marshall Auerback

The Nation
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Published: 28 Jan, 2021

While the spark that ignited the violent upheaval of January 6 was Donald Trump’s allegations that the November presidential election was fraudulent, for many the assault on the Capitol was also an insurgency against the entire political class. “All these politicians work for us. We pay their salaries, we pay our taxes. And what do we get? Nothing. All of them inside are traitors, ” said one of the Capitol invaders.

Precarity, populism, and prospects for a green democratic transformation

(rethinking populism series with Chantal Mouffe, Guy Standing, Didier Fassin, and James Schneider)
openDemocracy Logo
Published: 18 Jan, 2021

Green is in. The European Commission, that infamously undemocratic executive arm of the European Union has made the European Green Deal its flagship policy, which comes at the back of a renewed commitment to ‘social Europe’ with the inauguration of the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017.
Most recently, Chantal Mouffe has urged the Left to rally around a Green democratic transformation, along the lines of the Green New Deal policy project advanced by the radical wing of the US Democratic party. This indicates the emergence of a broad societal consensus for an epochal paradigm shift, akin to the shifts that enabled the post-WWII welfare state and that of neoliberal capitalism in the late twentieth century.

Here's why US political dysfunction has reached its breaking point

(reprinted as Lessons From the 6 January Insurrection, CounterPunch Jan 18, 2021)

with Marshall Auerback

AlterNet Logo
Published: 16 Jan, 2021

While the majority of Americans deplored the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, it was troubling to see a YouGov poll indicating that 1 in 5 voters approved of the assault. Their attitudes were buttressed by a significant number of House and Senate Republicans who have egged on the matter by continuing to call into question the legitimacy of last November's election result. This is a sign that the rot in the American political system goes deep.
Upgrading the physical security around the country's political institutions is of little long-term value, especially if the activities that occur within them continue to manifest ongoing dysfunction worthy of a banana republic.

The rule of law: a simple phrase with exacting demands

with Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Published: 27 Nov, 2020

That the European Union, in its moment of public healthcare emergency and acute economic plight, should find itself paralysed over such a seemingly abstract matter as the rule of law is one of the great paradoxes of our times. And yet this is exactly the conundrum plaguing approval of the EU’s seven-year budget and recovery fund, totalling €1.81 trillion, which Poland and Hungary have been blocking over rule-of-law conditionality for the funds’ disbursement.

2020 Was the ‘Precarity Election’

(reprinted as 2020, the year of the ‘precarity election’, AsiaTimes Nov 15, 2020 and as "The precarity election.", The Scrum Nov 12, 2020)

with Marshall Auerback

The Nation
The Nation Logo
Published: 13 Nov, 2020

While Joe Biden will be America’s next president, the Democrats’ narrow election victory hardly represented the vaunted “blue wave” predicted by many pollsters. Indeed, the most striking takeaway from the 2020 result is how much it mirrored the profound splits of the 2016 election—literally, give or take the shift of a hundred thousand votes or so in a few key Rust Belt and Sun Belt states. And despite charges of racism, more than a quarter of Donald Trump’s votes came from nonwhite Americans, the highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960.

How not to turn democracy into a neoliberal fantasy

openDemocracy Logo
Published: 6 Jul, 2020

Yes, someone is to blame

with James Galbraith

Social Europe
Social Europe Logo
Published: 23 Jun, 2020

Disaster Capitalism or the Green New Deal

with James Galbraith

Progressive International
Progressive International Logo
Published: 14 May, 2020

The nascent paradigm shift in the EU

Social Europe
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Published: 28 Apr, 2020

Precarity, not inequality is what ails the 99%

Financial Times
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Published: 27 Apr, 2020

In a pandemic, we are more precarious than ever

with Paul Apostolidis

Jacobin Logo
Published: 16 Apr, 2020

Our Neoliberal War on the Pandemic

IWM Logo
Published: 3 Apr, 2020

Whose is the European Green Deal?

Social Europe
Social Europe Logo
Published: 11 Mar, 2020

The massification of precarity

openDemocracy Logo
Published: 9 Mar, 2020

The big Green New Deal and its little red social question

Social Europe
Social Europe Logo
Published: 30 Oct, 2019

Agent Sabina: On the abjection of Julia Kristeva

Eurozine Logo
Published: 20 Apr, 2018

Upholding the Rule of Law in the European Union: an Open Letter to EU Presidents Juncker and Tusk

with Barbara Spinelli

openDemocracy Logo
Published: 4 Nov, 2017

An open letter concerning the upholding of the Rule of Law in the European Union, co-signed by 188 scholars, politicians, public intellectuals and members of the European Parliament and sent on November 3, 2017 to the presidents of the European Commission and European Council through the European Parliament. Español. Catalan.

The Abuse of the Rule of Law in the EU

Social Europe
Social Europe Logo
Published: 24 Oct, 2017

Taking the Spanish Government before the law

openDemocracy Logo
Published: 12 Oct, 2017

Turkey has violated NATO founding Treaty

Financial Times
Financial Times Logo
Published: 16 Aug, 2016

Commentary on the autocratic turn in Turkish politics

with Drucilla Cornell and Zehra Arat

Published: 29 Apr, 2016

An Open Letter in protest of the oppression of dissidents in Turkey

(signed by over 100 academics)
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books Logo
Published: 21 Apr, 2016

There is no Refugee Crisis in Europe

openDemocracy Logo
Published: 21 Mar, 2016

Are we Charlie?

Berkeley Blog
Published: 16 Jan, 2016

Misframing the Greek protest

Berkeley Blog
Published: 18 Feb, 2015

Safe even in a ‘society of devils’

Financial Times
Financial Times Logo
Published: 26 Sep, 2011

Against the Politics of Fear: On deliberation, inclusion and the political economy of trust

Philosophy & Social Criticism
Sage Publications Logo
Published: 31 Dec, 2010

I was one of the three authors of the Manifesto "Against the Politics of Fear", which was widely published in the mass media. We were nominated for the EU Journalists Award "For Diversity - Against Discrimination" of the European Commission for 2010.

Josep Ramoneda, “La Hegemonía Conservadora”: draws on Azmanova’s notion of economic xenophobia

Published: 7 Mar, 2010

Clock ticking as US and Europe seek consensus on values

Published: 21 Apr, 2008

France's new policy vocabulary in the century of globalisation

Published: 22 Nov, 2007

Sarkozy does small business no favours

Published: 29 Jun, 2007

Explaining a shift to the centre-right in Europe - and the US

Published: 22 Mar, 2007

Europe's angry conservatives turn nasty against liberalism

Published: 13 Apr, 2006

Contribution to “30 Idées Pour Réveiller la Gauche”

Published: 10 Nov, 2005

She Goes Against the Stream

Published: 13 Feb, 2005

A biographical article “She Goes Against the Stream”, and a review of my theory of new political conflicts by Lena Skogberg in the Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet

Five Europeans in New York

Published: 31 Dec, 1996

Participation in “Five Europeans in New York” (a biographical documentary on 5 young Europeans living in New York) by Jeroen van der Drift; a Dutch Angle Films production, in cooperation with Deutsche Film –und Fernsehakademie Belin, 1996.