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Confronting the plunder of the commons

January 31, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

FREE but booking with eventbrite is required

Wednesday 31 January 2018, 4.00pm

Speaker: Professor Guy Standing, SOAS University of London

Sociology Lectures

An aspect of the ongoing Global Transformation has been the systematic plunder of the commons, facilitated by globalisation and the neo-liberal economic paradigm guiding governments and international agencies.

Inspired by the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, this talk will trace how the neo-liberalism unleashed by Thatcher and Reagan in the 1980s has morphed into a system of rentier capitalism, and how this has resulted in the plunder of the natural, social, cultural and intellectual commons. This is worsening inequality and economic insecurity by much more than commonly understood, particularly disadvantaging the growing precariat. The talk will conclude with proposals for the revival of the commons and for building a new income distribution system.

The lecture will draw in particular from two recent books, The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers thrive and work does not pay (Biteback) and Basic Income… And how we can make it happen (Pelican).

Speaker biography: Guy Standing is Professorial Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies & University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences and co-founder and now honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), an international NGO that promotes basic income.

He was previously Professor of Development Studies in SOAS, Professor of Economic Security, University of Bath, Professor of Labour Economics, Monash University, and Director of the ILO’s Socio-Economic Security Programme. He has been a consultant for many international bodies, including UNICEF, UNDP, the European Commission and the World Bank, has worked with SEWA in India for many years, and was Director of Research for President Mandela’s Labour Market Policy Commission.

His recent books include The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011), which has been translated into 19 languages; A Precariat Charter (2014); with others, Basic Income – A Transformative Policy for India, and The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay (2016). His latest book is Basic Income: And how we can make it happen (Pelican, Penguin, 2017).

Other lectures in this series include:

Location: Room W/222, Wentworth College

Admission: is by free ticket only. Please book below.


If you have an accessibility need, please contact us at open-lectures@york.ac.uk or 01904 324466, and we will make every effort to accommodate you.

The majority of lectures are held on the University campus. There is a regular bus service and the campus is easily accessible by bicycle. Car parking is available in the Pay & Display car parks, which are free after 6pm. Please note however space in the Field Lane car park on Campus East is limited. More information on reaching the University together with maps and additional parking information can be found on our Information for Visitors webpages.


January 31, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
FREE but booking with eventbrite is required
Event Category:


University of York Open Lecture Series
01904 324778
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Room W/222, Wentworth College
University of York
Heslington, York, YO10 5DD
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