John Russo is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Metropolitan Institute of Virginia Tech. He was the Co-Director of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University for 17 years. He has published widely on labor organizing, work, and working-class culture. He is the co-author, with Sherry Linkon, of Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown.
from “The New Precariat and Electoral Politics”
The growth of the precariat has its roots in globalization and technological change, which flooded flexible labor markets and advanced international divisions of labor. These conditions coincided with changes in government regulation, corporate restructuring, reduced access to and distribution of social programs, and the creation of coercive social policies such as workfare, mass incarceration, and means testing.
Historically, precarious employment was associated with the informal economy. But with economic changes in the last several decades, informality has moved beyond traditional practices of black market exchanges or services such as day care or tutoring. As workers have been displaced from the formal economy, many are turning to consulting, internships, and subcontracting to find contingent and intermittent work.
- “You Say You Want a (Metropolitan) Revolution?” Review of The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy New Geography. 5 October 2013.
- “How They Think: The Complexity of White Working-Class Voters.” The Washington Spectator. 7 October 2013.
- Steeltown U.S.A.: Work and Memory in Youngstown website. University Press of Kansas website. 2003.
Living in a Precarious World: Art, Labor, and the New Economic Precarity | April 1, 2014