22/1 2015 släpps boken Inclusive Growth in Europe (Karl Wennberg och Gabriel Ehrling, redaktörer). Jag och Karl Palmås har där skrivit texten ”Self-employment and generational inequality”.
In late 2012, the book Skitliv was released in Sweden. Two years on, it seems the publication appeared at a time when the Swedish public debate was ripe for discussing the new working conditions for the young population. One may even go as far as to say that Skitliv (Bernhardtz, 2012) sparked this debate. The book consisted of journalistic essays, interviews and academic texts. The main contri bution, however, were the first-hand stories about the reality of the ‘temp’, the ‘iPros’ (Leighton, 2013) or the ‘precariat’ (Standing, 2011). These stories included examples of temporary employment, ‘text message stand-ins’, everlasting internships, misuse of staffing agencies, flexible salaries, no compensation for working overtime or inconvenient hours, ‘forced’ self-employment and so on. Many of these examples where known about before, but back then they were mostly described as something that just happened among the blue collar sectors. Skitliv gathered stories from across the spectrum of occupations: journalists, clerks, cell phone salesmen, waiters, actors, nurses, engine drivers and janitors. Traditional class differen- ces were of course recognised in these stories, but the new factor that emerged was the existence of a generational divide. The fault line of this generational divide stretches further up the age groups. Young people talk about their first job with a glint in their eyes. ‘It was a little bit rough, you didn’t get paid on time and once a TV fell on my foot’. An implicit understanding of this quote is that your first job should be a challenge, but it will help you to get your (injured) foot in the door. That might have been true during the golden era of economic growth, the welfare state and the years of equilibrium between employers and employees. Nowadays, in the face of econo- mic crisis and the gloomy growth prospects of a secular stagnation (Summers, 2014), you might be 30, 35, 40 or even 45 before you get a job with similar rights and conditions as the previous generation.
På många sätt är det en uppföljning och fördjupning av min text ”Generation 1000 € i den sydeuropeiska krisens spår” i Skitliv. Jag fortsätter min undersökning av vad som händer på den italienska arbetsmarknaden, medan Karl bidrar med de delar som handlar om Nederländerna.