Work after Globalisation: Building Occupational Citizenship

Drawing on a recent book, this will set out an agenda for a progressive social policy suitable for 21st century tertiary society.2 It starts from the premise that the financial shock of 2008-09 marked the end of globalisation as conceived by the neo-liberals and enshrined by policies advanced by the IMF and World Bank. 

The shock marked the crisis point of the disembedded phase of the Global Transformation, analogous to Karl Polanyi's Great Transformation. Whereas Polanyi's was about the forging of national markets, the current Transformation is about the painful forging of international markets. The period known as globalisation was the 'disembedded' phase involving the dismantling of the systems of regulation, redistribution and social protection that had suited to the industrial citizenship model underlying the Great Transformation's 'embedded' phase. It generated growing economic instability, chronic economic insecurity and widening inequalities that came to a head in the financial crisis of 2008-09.

This presentation will attempt to identify the primary challenges that have to be met if we are to move forward to an 'embedded' phase of the Global Transformation, one characterised by what the author calls occupational citizenship. It rests on identifying a progressive agenda that would appeal to the two emerging socio-economic 'classes', namely the proficians and the rapidly growing global precariat. The latter is the new dangerous class. Unless their fears, insecurities and aspirations are addressed, the sustainability of the economic system will be seriously jeopardised. In brief, a new social policy system will be needed to promote work rights and economic security, rather than labour security.