Document Type



These reflections develop a comprehensive conceptualization of precarity as a condition of politically and systemically generated economic and social vulnerability caused by insecurity of livelihoods – a form of disempowerment, experienced as incapacity to cope, itself rooted in a misalignment between responsibility and power. Precarity, thus understood, is a transversal social injustice cutting across differences in social class, education, employment, and income. It harms people’s material and psychological welfare and hampers society’s capacity to manage adversity and govern itself.

The article elaborates on the above conceptualization by addressing six fallacies in debates on precarity:

1: “There is nothing particularly new about insecurity”;

2: “There is nothing particularly bad about insecurity”;

3: “The cure of precarity is certainty and stability, this is best achieved by an autocratic rule”;

4. “Only the poor and the exploited are truly precarious”;

5. “Fighting poverty and inequality is sufficient to eliminate precarity”;

6. “The precarity of the rich is not important”.