Freedom from precarity: a human right

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Vohra, Shamanth
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It is a commonly held belief among contemporary, mainstream economists that higher labour protections may lead to an increase in unemployment. Unfortunately, as the asymmetry of power between employee and employer shifts in the latter’s favour, capitalism’s exploitative tendencies toward labour become increasingly pronounced. This is especially true for low skill labour as it is highly interchangeable, however, as of late, even more skilled workers have experienced a decline in job security and research suggests that this is a long time trend and that the socio-economic insecurity is set to get more severe in the future. As a growing number of middle and lower income workers are under increasing pressure from unemployment on one side, and overexploitation on the other, their well-being becomes increasingly independent from the efforts they make to preserve it as their livelihoods become subject to seemingly arbitrary reversals of fortune. This thesis will present the argument that such a precarious existence is incompatible with the idea of human dignity and that freedom from precarity must be a human right. This thesis will draw heavily on André Gorz’s and Guy Standing’s work. Furthermore, the thesis will use capabilities approach as normative framework to evaluate the effect of precarity.
Second semester University: University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin
human rights, labour, unemployment, employment, social welfare, social security