The century of labouring man has come to an end, and yet governments continue to link social entitlements to the performance of labour. This book argues that the era of market regulation has ended in an era of fiscal regulation: new social and economic insecurities have spread around the world, boosted by globalisation and flexible labour markets, and compounded by privatisation and increased selectivity of social policy. This global insecurity has spawned growing and underestimated inequalities, while governments are making social policy more paternalistic and directive, using the language of duty and responsibility.
This context requires new systems of regulation, social protection and redistribution. Guy Standing argues for a complex egalitarianism, in which basic income security is a right for all, workers’ representation is strengthened in new ways, and economic democracy is promoted. Work (including community and care work), not labour, must be the basis of the “good society”, so policies should be judged by their capacity to promote occupational security-good opportunity for all to pursue their own sense of occupation.