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  • Preface: The Terrifying Convergence of the Three Worlds of the “Social Question”

    Göran Therborn

    Chapter from the book: Breman, J et al. 2019. The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View.


    The social question of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was the workers question. The latter is now gone, or discarded, all over the world. Does it have any successor? The industrial response to the workers question was an extensive class compromise, a changed capitalism, of workers’ rights and of civic rights. How much force will the excluded and the marginalized of today be able to gather—the shrinking industrial working class, the “informal” workers on sub-industrial-standard employment, the precariat, the subsistence farmers under mounting pressure, the roving day laborers, the street vendors, the never-employed youth, all facing a strong headwind of global finance capitalism? To what extent will they be able to find allies among the middle-class salariat, also threatened by the ruthlessness of capital accumulation? Without strong forces of resistance and rebellion, what is awaiting us will be galloping inequality and exclusion.

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    Therborn, G. 2019. Preface: The Terrifying Convergence of the Three Worlds of the “Social Question”. In: Breman, J et al (eds.), The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.74.a

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    Published on July 30, 2019