Redundant People Publication date : September 30, 2015
Pierre-Noël is a professor of economics at the Paris Ecole des Mines and at the University of Paris-Dauphine. He is the author of several important works on economics, such as L’inégalité du monde (1996), Le Commerce des promesses (new edition, 2009) and, more recently, L’Industrie française décroche-t-elle? (2013).
Globalisation and inequality: these are the forces that now shape the world. While inequality between states has been diminishing, inequality within nations has been rising, resulting in rapidly growing numbers of ‘redundant people’, according to Pierre-Noël Giraud. These redundant people include unemployed citizens in rich countries, as well as workers with no job security, landless peasants, and slum dwellers: all those members of society whose labour-power is of little or no value. The author’s goal is to understand the causes of redundancy and how to make them disappear.
To do this, Giraud has opened the black box of the economy. He reveals, with no holds barred, how the economy works, its methodology, goals and tools. This leads him to formulate several questions of crucial importance for the coming thirty years: has Malthus become relevant in defining how we relate to nature? How have the various globalisations — digital, business, financial — helped widen the inequality gap? Why has redundancy become such a public policy priority?
Underlining the threat posed to society by roaming economic conflicts — a consequence of globalisation — Giraud proposes here a reflection that reaches beyond mere economic issues.
• The fate of ‘redundant people’ in a globalised world, the division of labour between nomadic and sedentary jobs, the new forms of economic conflicts: these are some of the highly relevant issues for our time that are examined here.
• Pierre-Noël Giraud invites the reader to think like an economist, by examining hypotheses and criticising them, by distinguishing between analysis and the goals of political economy. What Giraud shows us here is the very opposite of what the mass media tell us.