Farewell to the middle class - the precarious society

Ein Arte-Themenabend von Valentin Thurn und Karin de Miguel-Wessendorf
Im Auftrag des RBB

Rund ein Drittel aller Beschäftigten in Europa lebt in Unsicherheit. Obwohl sie Arbeit haben, teilweise sogar mehrere Jobs gleichzeitig, kommen sie nur knapp über die Runden. Sie bilden eine neue soziale Klasse, die Ökonomen das „Prekariat“ nennen. Die wachsende Angst vor der Armut führt zu einem Gefühl des sozialen Ausschlusses und auch zu Zweifeln an der Demokratie, in deren Folge populistische Parteien mehr Zulauf erhalten.

It is not only in Germany or France that the gap between rich and poor is growing. Even in Sweden, which is still considered a "social paradise" by many, the social gap is widening. One in five pensioners there lives below the poverty line, and women are particularly affected. In Spain, more than half of those under 30 are in precarious employment. 

"The precariat always lives hard on the edge of debt. One mistake, one illness at the wrong time, one accident, or something happens to a family member, that can mean the end," says British economist Guy Standing.

What is the explosiveness of the new class of the precariat? What about Europe's social peace? What opportunities and challenges are associated with the idea of a basic income? How could the great insecurity and polarization of the political system be counteracted?

Karin de Miguel Wessendorf and Valentin Thurn trace these questions in the documentary "Farewell to the Middle Class - The Precarious Society" and accompany young and old people from different European countries in their everyday life in the "precariat".

Editing: Christian von Behr (RBB)

First broadcast:
February 4, 2020, 20.15, ARTE

February 21, 2020, 09:30, ARTE