From Proletariat to Precariat

Probably one of the main reasons that the political and social philosophy of Karl Marx failed to preserve its relevance and potency in the post-World War world was owing to its reliance for its effective realisation upon an enduring class of labourers called “the proletariat”. This social class of toilers no longer exists in the same way Marx understood the condition of labour and of the working class of his time. No one today speaks of “the proletariat”, at least in the Western context (although it might be said to exist still in places like the sweatshops of Bangladesh). Instead, some today speak of a “precariat”, and this creature is something quite different from the traditional proletarian.

To clarify our terms, the use of the word “proletariat” descends from the Roman Empire, and refers to an unpropertied class called the “proles” who were thought fit only to reproduce themselves for service to the state, and who otherwise had no political or social value or standing. The “proles” were simply breeders, reproducing human raw material. And that function is retained in the meaning of the word “prole” as “offspring”. The prole, in that sense, was not deemed to be a person or a personality.

Marx saw a clear similarity between the industrial working class of his time and the condition of the proles in the Roman State — a class dispossessed and preserved, forcibly if necessary, only for the purpose of breeding human raw material as livestock for use and consumption by the Roman state and the propertied classes, allowed only so much sustenance as would preserve them in life solely to produce more offspring, more “hands”, more grist for the mill. These are what Marx referred to as the “wage slaves” of the industrial working class, a proletariat that would never be allowed to rise above its condition of serving as grist for the mill or as cogs in the machine. They could have, in effect, no “personality” or individuality, but only a function, and to reproduce themselves and their kind only for replenishing the proletariat itself. Class boundaries and barriers were strictly enforced as much as the caste system was in India.

It is in this context that Marx’s famous slogan from the Communist Manifesto (1848) made its powerful appeal: “Proletarians of all countries unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains”. Marx saw in the despised and exploited proletariat, denied all individuality and the free development of the personality guaranteed to others, the basis for a world historic revolutionary transformation of society and the emancipation of the worker from the condition of proletarianism and wage slavery — that is, from the condition of being like mere livestock and from the state of massification and quantification that industrial capitalism had driven the worker into.

The appeal was so powerful in raising the class consciousness of the proletarian that it is even inscribed on Marx’s tombstone as his epitaph, “Workers of the world, unite!” — the summary statement of his life and thought. And it was powerful because, in form, it resembled God’s commandment to the Hebrews, “Harken, Israel!”, that fused twelve fractious desert tribes escaping their own slavery in Egypt into a singular entity with an awareness of nationhood and a transcendent destiny. In this it is true, as some have noted, that Karl Marx was a modern day secular Moses who resembled more a thundering Old Testament prophet than a political philosopher. He even looks the part from his photographs,

Image

The “spectre haunting Europe” — the prospect of a proletarian revolution — was no fantasy. It was an age of revolutions. The social philosopher, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, although not himself a Marxist, nonetheless held that the only thing that kept Marx’s vision of communism from being realised through the agency of a revolutionary proletariat was not the resistance of liberal capitalism or reactionary (ultra nationalist) conservatism, but the communist parties themselves, who had a political interest not in the emancipation of the person from the proletariat, but in preserving the proletariat as a class and as a base for their own political power. Marx had never made a fetish of the proletariat, “the masses”, “the working class”, nor idols of “Labour” and “Capital”. Rather he found these class conditions deplorable and an obstacle to the free development of the personality. Abolition of the working class, of “Labour” as a social category, of “the masses”, not its preservation or elevation, was his ultimate aim, nor was it to extend the rule of the proletariat or to dissolve all social classes into the amorphousness of a proletariat or a universal labouring class. These were the aberrations of his successors.

So, what happened to the proletariat? For even as late as 1949, George Orwell, in his dystopian novel 1984, was still placing his hopes for the emancipation of humanity from conditions of degradation and debasement in “the proles”, via his character Winston Smith. How Orwell understood “the Proles” in relation to the IngSoc state is Marx’s understanding,

“So long as they (the Proles) continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern…Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”

Doesn’t sound too much different from today, in some ways.

So, what happened to the proletariat? One can suggest a couple of things. The Russian Revolution of 1917 so alarmed the ruling classes that they made concessions to the working class, as a way of co-opting the revolutionary thrust of the proletariat. Chief amongst those was the 8 hour day. This was significant for Rosenstock-Huessy who noted that the earliest strikes were not about wages but about hours of work. When workers in Berlin struck during the First World War under the slogan of “8 hours work, 8 hours leisure, 8 hours sleep”, Rosenstock realised that the workers had become real proletarians — that they had cemented their status as a proletariat by dividing their life-time up into discrete chunks in this way. Gone was the revolutionary thrust. They had submitted to be regulated by the calendar of interest rate calculation and the clockwork mechanism of industrial capitalism. The economic system simply adjusted by organising production into shifts. But no fundamental change in the socio-economic arrangements or in the relationship of production occurred. The “system”, as such, had conserved itself, and in some ways if the proletariat has become invisible, it is because it has become pervasive and ubiquitous. In a sense, we have all become proletarians.

But more recently, if it had become anachronistic to still speak of a “proletariat” in the older sense, nonetheless a new term has arisen to describe a novel situation — the Precariat — a new “class” whose conditions of social existence are tenuous, being without security or predictability. And this is quite different from the classical proletariat.

Clues to the meaning of this, and the emergent “precariat”, were long ago provided by Rosenstock-Huessy. In reassessing the structure of the modern commercial enterprise or corporation, Rosenstock noted that the old antagonism of interests represented in the terms “Capital” and “Labour” failed to take account of the basic structure of contemporary industrial arrangements and enterprise. Capital versus Labour wasn’t the crucial dimension. There was actually a fourfold arrangement of modern enterprise corresponding to his “cross of reality”: management and marketing constitute one polar relation corresponding to “inside” and “outside”, while the engineer and the worker constituted the other polar relation, corresponding to future and past or “forwards” and “backwards”. The industrial worker was less at the mercy of the capitalist than he was at the mercy of the engineer and inventor constantly altering the efficiency of the means of production, and constantly changing the ratio between worker and machine in favour of the machine. As the pace of technological innovation accelerates, the situation of the worker becomes increasingly unpredictable and “precarious” because he or she cannot be certain of long-term employment with any one enterprise, and therefore, of feeling at home in any enterprise.

Management and marketing, Rosenstock noted, are the relatively stable elements of the enterprise because they are most linked to the administration and regulation of spaces. But the engineer and production worker are the unstable factors or poles because they are both at the mercy of time and flux. They are the most vulnerable elements of a commercial and industrial enterprise because constant innovation in the means of production — in technology — threaten both with immediate obsolescence, particularly during times of rapid social change due to accelerating innovation in technology. Uncertainty, unpredictability, and anxiety are the lot of the Precariat, which cannot plan for the long term as a result but lives day-to-day, not knowing whether they will be made redundant tomorrow. This is what distinguishes the precariat from the old style proletarian.

This contemporary character of economic arrangements was brought home to me by an article that appeared in today’s Montreal Gazette, “Tech savvy jobs of today can disappear but jobs in sales and finance remain“. The article doesn’t once mention the “Precariat” as the new shape of a proletariat class, but it is nonetheless its meaning. And it affirms Rosenstock-Huessy’s earlier analysis of the structure of contemporary economy, largely presented in his short book The Multiformity of Man (which is available for download for those interested).

What distinguishes the proletariat from the precariat is the issue of time. For the proletariat, life was too predictable and too routine. Eight hours work, eight hours leisure, eight hours sleep. Nothing truly new could enter through this arrangement of hours. Life time was boringly predictable in its total banality — a tedious aggregate sum of moments, hours, days or weeks, all the same, that ultimately led nowhere but the grave. The situation of the proletarian was neatly expressed in a song I came across yesterday by a rock band called “Carcass”, a song entitled “Arbeit Macht Fleisch” (“Work Makes Meat”), and it gives expression to the quintessential mood of an industrial proletariat or “cog in the machine”

Prognathous gears grind
So diligent and serrated they mesh
Toothed cogs churn
So trenchant, against soft flesh
Worked to the bone
Up to the hilt, depredated
Raw materialism
To stoke the furnaces
Toiling, rotting
Life slowly slips away
Consumed, inhumed
In this mechanized corruption line
By mincing machinery industrialized, pulped and pulverized
Enslaved to the grind

 Blood, sweat, toil, tears
Arbeit macht fleisch

Grave to the grind

Inimitable gears twist
To churn a living grave
Stainless cogs shredding
Scathing pistons bludgeon and flail
Stripping to the bone
Retund mandrels levigate
Just raw material
Your pound of flesh for the suzerain
Toiling, rotting
Life slowly dissipates
Consumed, inhumed
In a corruption line, mechanized
By mincing machinery, industrialized, crunched and brutalised
A grave to the blind

Such is the lament of the industrial proletarian, and you will note that nothing is said about wages. Most work songs of that kind seldom mention wages. It’s about life abused, “dissipated”, “consumed”, brutalised by drudging routine, “mincing machinery”, and life sacrificed to a clockwork mechanism and endless predictable repetition. Into such a life, nothing new can enter, and real personality suffers and suffocates as a result.

An industrial proletariat (and the nature of work) faces a different problem in relation to time than the precariat of the “technotronic” era, and it’s not difficult to see that this has to do with the changing nature of time and timing brought about by a revolution in the means of production, and that this also brings with it new and very serious problems of social stability and even social durability.

None of which are presently even being addressed.

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14 responses to “From Proletariat to Precariat”

  1. alex jay says :

    Excellent! But … there’s more to it than meets the eye – i.e: “So, what happened to the proletariat? One can suggest a couple of things. The Russian Revolution of 1917 so alarmed the ruling classes that they made concessions to the working class, as a way of co-opting the revolutionary thrust of the proletariat.” Here again, we enter the murky waters of historical nuance and the paradoxes that arise from competing narratives. While it is a fact that the Russian Revolution did force “concessions” from the ruling classes nevertheless, it was these ruling classes – or certain elements within these classes – that organised, funded and largely managed the eventual success of the Bolshevik Revolution. Perhaps you may want to view this lengthy documentary which offers some other interpretations rarely promoted through conventional historical sources.

    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=30145

    PS I read today that the pope has taken some pot-shots at capitalism — tee-hee-hee

    • alex jay says :

      Oh … a word of caution (caveat emptor) on the documentary. I remember buying a bag of walnuts of which over an half were rotten, still the rest were very tasty. I only present it to you as a means of illustrating how difficult it is to get to the truth behind the events of history — even in this day of 24/7 information we still don’t have a consensus on Kennedy and 9/11 to the point that highly respected intellectuals like Chomsky (a man I respect by the way) comes up with some of the most asinine deductions, as his recent answer to an audience question on 9/11 demonstrates.

    • Scott Preston says :

      The Popes are always taking pot-shots a capitalism and at the attitude of acquisitive individualism. Nothing new there. Acquisitive individualism isn’t consistent with Christian teaching.

      While it is a fact that the Russian Revolution did force “concessions” from the ruling classes nevertheless, it was these ruling classes – or certain elements within these classes – that organised, funded and largely managed the eventual success of the Bolshevik Revolution.

      Am deeply skeptical of such claims. Lenin was aided by the German High Command because of Lenin’s reluctance to continue the war. That would have solved the precarious German problem of having to fight a war on two fronts, with it going especially badly on the Western Front already. But when the Bolsheviks did attain power, the Allied powers involved in the war sent troops to try and roll back the revolution in order to keep Russia in the war and force the Germans to continue to tie up its resources there rather than having them diverted to the Western Front.

      I really don’t see any necessity for other contentious and extraneous conspiracy theories — and especially not this one, which is ridiculous reactionary and revisionist hysteria and hype. I watched 4 parts, and that was enough. It is not even a very good example of reactionary propaganda, which would at least have given the film some value.

      It goes without saying that the Illuminati were revolutionaries in an age of revolution. Mozart was a Freemason as were many others in the Age of Reason. “Illuminatus” means, after all “enlightened”, so what do you expect those who adhered to the principles of the European Enlightenment to call themselves? But to the reactionaries of the ancien regime and the papacy, they were, of course, sinister figures advocating the overthrow of “the Age of Faith” by an Age of Reason, as much as Socrates was a sinister figure to the Greek court (and the mythical consciousness) that condemned him to death (as a mutant — the mental-rational). It was the clash of two different consciousness structures, two “Ages” or two Orders (one deemed “natural” and the other “unnatural”). To the Counter-Reformation the Enlightenment was a sinister, secretive, evil and subversive development. But to the “Illuminati”, with memories still fresh of Inquisition, witch-hunt, and massacre of “heretics”, “secretiveness” was simply a necessity of survival.

      And this film belongs to the continuing propaganda of the Counter-Reformation, the ancien regime, and of a persistent structure of consciousness that is riddled with superstitions as much as other contemporary Counter-Enlightenment and reactionary groups like “Galileo Was Wrong” or Flat Earth Society or Opus Dei.

      It doesn’t take conspiracy theories about dark, sinister forces working in the shadows to explain why the Illuminati backed revolution against the feudal order and the ancien regime and the papacy. It doesn’t take a conspiracy theory about “rich Jews” to understand why wealthy Jews would back Russian Jewish revolutionaries against a superstitious czarist feudal order that systematically persecuted the Jews mercilessly whenever it needed to deflect unwanted attention from itself. And what kind of skewed mentality wouldn’t understand why the Japanese would want to promote the Russian Revolution during the Russo-Japanese War?

      Even as propaganda it’s crap.

  2. alex jay says :

    I did try to preempt your reaction, which is why I followed up with the second post, and the reference to the “rotten walnuts”. I’ve followed your blog long enough to be able to predict your reaction to anything of a conspiratorial nature. This makes sense in light of your holistic perspective and the role collective consciousness plays in the shaping of historical epochs ala Gebser. Yet, in my view, this metahistorical perspective tends to diminish the significant roll played by individuals or groups in effecting the collective consciousness by design, unintended consequences, or through fluke as in the case of the submarine incident during the Cuban blockade in 1962 when the patience of a single officer through a depth-charge barrage went against military protocol and stopped the launching of nuclear missiles on Miami sparing the world from the liklihood of massive extinction (incidentally, a similar threath was averted in 1983 by a single individual during a war games excercise that went south – as they say).

    No … while I agree the film maker’s basic theme is a load of “rotten walnuts” (Masons etc.) the “tasty” bits were the documented involvement of Wall Street bankers (Jacob Schiff in particular) in the Russian Revolution … the same thing can be said for the same group in Hitler’s rise to power.

    In that sense, it exposes the absurd ideological tug-o-war managed by individuals whose only interest is “greed, aggression and delusion”. And it most certainly is a conspiracy! And independent of collective consciousness trends … for they have always existed.

    • Scott Preston says :

      About every crime against reason and logic possible was perpetrated in that film — (that is to say, the “rotten walnuts”). Even the attempt to rope together Zionists and Freemasons and Bolsheviks through the common patronage of the god Hermes was a conniving piece of slight-of-hand. The canard of making a false distinction between “Russians” and “revolutionaries” says about everything that needs to be said about the reactionary mentality, even (for some reason) putting the word “revolutionaries” and “revolution” constantly in scary quotation marks (er, what was it then?).

      “Greed, aggression, and delusion”? Oddly enough, the three principle sins of Buddhism. How convenient that they should each become explict in the form Zionism, Freemasonry, and Bolshevism, as if they never actually existed in Russian tzarism or in the Old Europe of the Holy Roman Empire and the ancien regime. Yes, indeed. Apparently, all hell started to break loose with the problem of Luther, the emancipation of the Jews, and the evils of the European Enlightenment. Meanwhile, the filmmaker’s own motives he appears at pains to gloss-over and obscure, although they are not too difficult to discern lurking in the shadows and in the background.

      If this is “truth seeking”, the man’s ill-equipped for the journey, like going on African safari with Arctic survival gear.

  3. LittleBigMan says :

    As usual, an excellent and superb essay.

    As a former “Precariat,” and now an almost “semi-Precariat,” I can attest that the transition from Proletariat to Precariat is the single most damaging development in the American story.

    Although I wasn’t familiar with the name “precariat,” I have been aware of the trend since at least the early 1990s (during Bush senior presidency), when hundreds of thousands were being laid off by small and large corporations such as GM, AT&T, etc.

    In my opinion, the single most important cause of this in America has been the linking of the American private sector workers’ pension plans with the firms on Wall Street; a.k.a “401K plans.”

    Through 401K plans, the American worker is made to work 12 hour shifts – at the present – to support the mutual fund accounts distributed throughout the Fortune 500 companies, while the worker receives – quarterly forecasts – about what s/he ‘could’ be receiving when s/he retires 50 years later. Not even three weeks ago I read about someone’s 401K plan declining from $300,000 to only $60,000 in the aftermath of the 2008 financial and economic debacle.

    Thanks, but no thanks for that – forecast of a golden parachute – that the masses of the American public were duped to participate in when they skipped spending time with their families in hopes of a comfortable retirement – which was nothing but a forecast on a piece of paper.

    In one case which I know – a former colleague – the 401K plan grew to $650,000 in the period from 1978 to 1996 (19 years), when the individual retired happily.

    But in the vast majority of cases (myself included), the funds in the 401K plan vanish with every downturn cycle. The only winners are the employers that, I suppose, reap the tax benefits, and the Wall Street firms – the institutional investors – that get to keep the veins that bring them the flood of pension money to invest and grow and make money for their CEOs in the present while they have to do nothing but to send the beneficiaries of those pension funds an envelope stuffed with quarterly forecast – an official lie.

    How is that for inventing a viable economic model for corporations….you all send me your pension money and I will send you a paper with a lie of a forecast printed on it?

    All for me in this moment, at the present. And every time you all get a paycheck I the corporation also get a cut, while I regularly send you a lie of a forecast printed on a sheet of paper with impressive logos!

    What a deal!

    401Ks are a perpetual money making machine for the elite, a sure way of defanging the vast majority of the masses, and the most important vessel with which the precariat are created in the United States.

    The same companies that treat their employees like dispensable napkins reap the rewards immediately – they take their cut as 401K pension funds – as soon as someone finds employment after long periods of unemployment.

    The interesting thing is that you cannot find any period in the American history when the American public was ever asked to vote on the issue or at least debate it at length and make an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of linking private sector pension funds with something as volatile as the Wall Street.

    401K plans seem to have just happened as the brainchild of Ted Benna. Here he is, “The Father of 401K” plans speaking on why these plans “are not good for the national retirement policy,” and are not a good replacement for “traditional retirement plans.” (it comes up after about minute 3:15)

    Prior to 9/11, the Bush administration was aggressively pursuing the policy of privatizing the Social Security funds through legislation in Congress. The subsequent downturn in the stock market put a temporary end to that debate. But no one can recall if a similar debate ever took place at the Capitol with respect to funneling private sector pension money to Wall Street.

    Thanks to the stressful work environment in America that demands 12 – 15 hours of every day, both man and woman in a family have been too busy “making a living,” to pay attention to the fact that the best years of their lives are in fact being stolen away from them in exchange for a forecast into the future called the 401K plan.

    Welcome to the age of the precariat!

    • Scott Preston says :

      An interesting summary of the 401K, of which I’ve heard but of which I know next to nothing. But from the sounds of it, it seems quite devious.

      In Canada we have something called “registered retirement savings plans” (RRSP) and these might be comparable to your 401K plans. I have a very, very small one, and don’t plan on contributing anything more to it. It’s value today is the same as when I put it in in 2000. Almost 14 years later, it’s still the same.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “But from the sounds of it, it seems quite devious.”

        In the late 1990s the human resources of this one company was trying to convince me to sign up for a 401K plan. I asked them for a retirement option that was not linked to the equity markets. She told me there was no such a thing and offered me one of four 401K plans, all of which were tied to the stock market. So, I left the meeting room without signing any paperwork. So much for having options if none of the options leads to a different street than Wall Street 🙂

        A few months later I started getting financial statements from a retirement fund on Wall Street. Apparently, the company had forged my signature and opened a 401K retirement account for me, anyway. I think it was the law that all full time employees were supposed to have one and since I didn’t sign up for one, they took the liberty of opening one for me.

        I worked for that company for a little over two years. After the 2008 debacle, there is enough left in that 401K account to have a dinner for two 🙂

        There are millions of people in America who were hit the same way. It’s remarkable that nothing is being done in the face of this extortion.

        I was lucky that I wasn’t near retirement when this happened. I can imagine what someone who is on the verge of retirement must be going through if this happened to them.

        It is indeed quite devious.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Did you catch David Simon’s speech at The Festival of Dangerous Ideas reproduced in The Guardian yesterday? He’s the creator of The Wire (of which I’ve heard but never seen — I’ve never had a TV after all).

          http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire

          It’s a bold speech. And for the most part, he’s quite right.

          • LittleBigMan says :

            I missed his speech, but he was interviewed on the Bay Area Public Radio station, KQED, no more than 7 – 10 days ago. I was tending to chores around my apartment and cleaning and cooking and listening to the radio at the same time, and did hear some snippets of what he was talking about as I walked in and out of my living room – but wasn’t listening to the program continuously.

            From what I heard, he did a good job of jabbing at peoples’ state of awakedness and I am happy and grateful for that. I didn’t know who he is until now that you provided the link to his Guardian article (thank you), otherwise I would have listened more attentively.

            Here are some comments I have about his article:

            “That may be the ultimate tragedy of capitalism in our time, that it has achieved its dominance without regard to a social compact, without being connected to any other metric for human progress.” – David Simon

            I think a mind that hasn’t learned to respect and value the most nurturing entity of all, the Mother Earth, will not know the value of acting and thinking cooperatively and responsibly in a social context. I have colleagues, for example, that are very shrewd investors. But they never stop to think whether or not the mutual funds they invest in are involved in the activities of companies that rape our planet by destroying the habitat (mining, deforestation, polluting water and air, etc.). This NEVER enters their mind. All they care about if their stock tripled or quadrupled in the last 6 months. How can I expect these people to act in a socially responsible way when they don’t even care about what happens to the ecology that sustains them?

            “And that notion that capital is the metric, that profit is the metric by which we’re going to measure the health of our society is one of the fundamental mistakes of the last 30 years.” – David Simon

            That “fundamental mistake,” has a root in a lot longer than 30 years. It’s more like 1000s of years. But it’s with the advent of the multinationals that the impact of that mentality has become noticeably self-destructive. We can no longer scape the effects of it.

            “Socialism is a dirty word in my country.” – David Simon

            Unless of course if the beneficiaries of that socialism are the elite (e.g. TARP money).

            “From this moment forward unless we reverse course, the average human being is worth less on planet Earth.” – David Simon

            But of course! That’s because the average profit is worth more than whatever happens to our resource laden Earth. If we cannot value our Earth, how can we value each other who are, in a way, “carbon”ized copies of that earth?

            To me, David Simon’s diea that “the socialist impulse has to be addressed again,” with respect to “the engine that is capitalism,” is a red herring. He has reached a point where he sees that no single modern idea is a sustainable socioeconomic model and now he wants to create a mish mash of the same ideas to see if that would work. But he fails to see the only way to turn this ship around is to integrate mankind’s activities within a model that does not destroy but helps sustain the ecosystem. In my opinion, he is too much of a metropolitan to realize this.

            What I love most about William Blake’s paintings is that, more than any painter I know, he understands mankind as an integral part of Nature and his paintings are filled with this profound message.

            “There are metrics besides that quarterly profit report.” – David Simon

            Yes. And that metric will have been established when our species learns to conduct its activities without stomping on the ecosystem.

            “Too much to cotemplate the idea that the whole country might be actually connected.” – David Simon

            The whole planet is connected for goodness’ sake. This that he concerns himself an American is in itself an obstacle to his fourfold vision 🙂

            In my view, we are justified to think of ourselves as citizens of a particular geographic locale insofar as our understanding of that citizenship embraces the idea that we are no omore than custodians of the ecosystem of that geographic locale and our actions should then extend from that mentality. The slavation of our species depends on how quickly and widely it can develop this mentality – not on an integration of socialistic and capitalistic systems.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Perhaps Simon is thinking of the Northern European states as models — Sweden and Norway.

              In any case, just wanted to add a little bit to this notion of the Precariat as it pertains to the problems of social organisation in Late Modernity.

              I’m reading, as mentioned, Romano Guardini’s book The End of the Modern World and an engaging read it is, too. Guardini opines about the future of culture (remember, this is 1956) and comes to the conclusion that “the single fact… will stamp the new culture: danger.”

              This is interesting because the term “Risk Society” (Ulrich Beck) emerged in the 80s to describe this, and then “Precariat” emerged a couple of decades later.

              These two attributes “Risk Society” and “Precariat” point to growing instability, or destabilisation, of the culture of Late Modernity, along with the notion of “crisis management”.

              So that’s where “Precariat” comes in, in the midst of this new “danger”.

            • LittleBigMan says :

              Here is a video that would shed some light on the industrial scale manufacturing of the “precariat” in no ther city than…..Baltimore (where David Simon resides)……which was led by none other than Wells Fargo Bank.

              Apparently, Wells Fargo got the Baltimore Church to do marketing for it by donating $350 to the church for every subprime loan that was signed due to the seminars held at the church where it was the congregation of the majority African American residents (after about minute 7:00).

              Yes, truly, this new “danger,” culture of destabilized societies is here to stay and we only have seen its first casualties since the global collapse of 2008. I really hope I am wrong.

            • Scott Preston says :

              I was stuck in Baltimore during the “blizzard of 96”, 5 days trapped in a hotel. Got a lot of thinking done anyway.

            • LittleBigMan says :

              🙂

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