Changes in the world economy, neo-liberal policies, and the recession have seen a considerable growth in unemployment, poverty, part-time working and welfare budget reductions as well as increasing reports of the poor treatment of elderly and disabled people. Guy Standing, author of The Precariat (people across the world living and working precariously in a series of short-term jobs, without stable occupational identities or careers, social protection or protective regulations) discusses this with Katharine Quarmby, author of Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People, a shocking account of how society treats its most unequal citizens, and Stephen Armstrong, who, in The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited, follows Orwell’s journey and encounters similar levels of social injustice and inequality. All picture a state of the nation that is ignoring the vulnerable but all offer too hope that a better society can be created.
Stephen Armstrong writes for the Sunday Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Elle and Esquire, among other publications. He is the author of The White Island (2005), War plc: The Rise of the New Corporate Mercenary (2009), The Super-Rich Shall Inherit the Earth (2010) and, most recently, The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited. He contributes documentaries and columns to Radio 4 and worked with al-jazeera on a film based around his book War plc.
Katharine Quarmby is a writer, journalist and film-maker specialising in social affairs, education, foreign affairs and politics, with an investigative and campaigning edge. In 2007 she started to investigate a number of violent killings of disabled men and women across the UK. As news editor of the disability magazine Disability Now, she was able to put together the first national dossier of such crimes that year, following it up with an investigative report on disability hate crimes, Getting Away with Murder, for the charity Scope and the UK’s Disabled People’s Council in 2008. In 2011 she completed her first non-fiction book on disability hate crime for adults, Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People. Visit her website at www.katharinequarmby.co.uk.
Guy Standing is Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath. Between April 2006 and February 2009, he was also Professor of Labour Economics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He is a founder member and co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network, an international non-governmental organisation that promotes basic income, whose members include economists, philosophers and other social scientists from over 40 countries. He is on the editorial advisory boards of several academic journals, including Development and Change, the European Journal of Industrial Relations and Labour and Industry. Visit his website at www.guystanding.com.
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