The Rise of the Precariat

Anonymous student post

Nowadays in the era of globalization companies are under more and more pressure to be as nimble and flexible as possible in order to be able to outmaneuver the competition. Thus in their struggle for relevance governments and employers are flexibilizing the labour markets. This takes form via short term contract based employment. It enables the employers to minimize cost and maximize gain by creating fierce competitive environment where current employees feel pressured to work their best for the prospect of future employment. Also it drives the wages down as companies are more and more looking into outsourcing their skilled labour and production. On top of all that the recent trend in employment, for the first time in history, employers demand that their employees hold higher education that , some 20 years ago, would be reasonably required for a given position. A barista at the local Starbucks probably should not require a graduate college degree in order to serve ones coffee.

As a result the working class, the proletariat, is rapidly shrinking away. And a new social class has emerged. The precariat arises, what was once a part of the now diminishing working class manifests itself as the working nomad. Without the welfare benefits of the working class there is no certainty about tomorrow and no clear established career path, the precariat has way to identify oneself within the current society.

The global economy are rapidly converging, the wages of the developed countries fall and equalize with those of the developing countries. As basic business economy would teach you perceived loss would never be forgotten. In order to ease the transition and prevent a potential upheaval the government offered subsidies for employment, cheap credit and tax subsidies. With the burst of the bubble economy all that has gone away and thus the proletariat is forced to the precariat. As every movement stems from the needs and aspirations of the society we have witnessed such movements such as Occupy Wall Street or the Arab Spring. Where people in the near east countries such Egypt, Libya, Yemen and other take to the streets to voice their concerns. Thus the precariat becomes self aware demanding the attention of the politicians.

So who really is the precariat? While in the developed countries it is the nomad employee with no or limited upward mobility in the developing countries the situation is more grave as the people may be in a situation of downward mobility. If that is not the case that may very well be because they have already sunk so low that there is no lower to go. Thus the precariat at this point is someone in a situation with no resolve. Thus the they need to press for new policies to be implemented to accommodate the new emerging class.

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Immigration and the U.S.

by Ayaka Kondo

The problem of illegal immigrants has troubled the U.S for a long time, but now the U.S has very strong social and economic ties with them, and it can be asserted the influence of illegal immigrants become so important that it cannot be ignored.  However, the situation over immigration gradually takes different color compared to the past; the number of immigrants from Asia and Mexico continues to go down recently.

It is said that the number of immigrants from China dropped by 87,000 to 70,863 from 2006 to 2010. Moreover, from the data of Pew Hispanic Center, the number of Mexican immigrants used to grow rapidly from the 1970s to 2000s, but since 2007, Mexican immigrants have been decreasing every year. Nevertheless the effect which Hispanic immigrants can give is thought to be still much stronger in the U.S because about 11 million people stay in the U.S illegally and more than 60% of illegal immigrants are Hispanics, mainly Mexicans, and most of them engaged in jobs such as agricultural industry, food service industry and cleaning service industry. In the long run, this tendency will probably give a great impact on American society.

Then, what makes the number of immigrants decrease? The U.S. might become less attractive to immigrants than it used to be in following two points: increasing discontent against immigrants and the depression in the U.S. First, it seems that anti-immigration movement gradually spread out every part of the U.S. For example, in Arizona, near the border between the U.S and Mexico, the state law to crack down on illegal immigrants was enacted in 2010 by conservative people. They have been regarded as those who disturb the peace of the U.S or can be a burden for American citizen, while they contribute to American economy as farmers or low-income workers. Obama announced that it can foster racial discrimination and order an injunction, but Arizona still maintains that stance, and to make matters worse, similar tendency can be seen in the other 23 states.

Now, immigrants are indispensable part of the U.S and they play an important role in American society from perspective of economy and politics, and how make them stay in the U.S might be a significant issue in the near future. Therefore, the government of the U.S has to look for a solution to make its nations and immigrants cooperate although it will be the hardest way.

References

Huhou Imin ga Gensho Bei Keizai heno Eikyou ha?, [Illegal Immigrants Decrease in the U.S and How Does It Affect American Economy?], retrieved from http://www.nandemo-america.com/mobile/?p=23313

NHK Online, 2012, Huhou Imin no Wakamono ni Zairyuu Shikaku, [The Status of Residence for Young Illegal Immigrants], retrieved from http://www.nhk.or.jp/worldwave/marugoto/2012/08/0817.html

Yasui. A, 2012, Nikkei Business Online, Keikikoutai de Beikoku deha Mekishiko Imin ga Ryuunyuuchou ni, [The Decrease of Mexican Immigrants in the U.S Due to The Depression], retrieved from http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/money/20120518/232294/

The Wall Street News, 2011, Amerikan Dori-mu no Syuuen? Chuugoku Kara no Imin ga Gensho, [The End of American Dream? Immigrants From China Decreased], retrieved from http://wstreetnews.com/2011/11/16/アメリカン・ドリームの終焉?%E3%80%80中国に引き上げ/