For the political class, poverty is commonly seen as a problem of law and order – a matter of how to deal with individuals, such as unemployed youths, who fall foul of the law. But treating poverty as a criminal problem obscures the social roots of inequality, which lie in the combination of a consumerist life philosophy propagated and instilled by a consumer–oriented economy, on the one hand, and the rapid shrinking of life chances available to the poor, on the other. In our contemporary, liquid–modern world, the poor are the collateral damage of a profit–driven, consumer–oriented society – aliens inside′ who are deprived of the rights enjoyed by other members of the social order.
In this new book Zygmunt Bauman – one of the most original and influential social thinkers of our time – examines the selective affinity between the growth of social inequality and the rise in the volume of collateral damage′ and considers its implications and its costs.
Introduction: Collateral damage of social inequality 1
1 From the agora to the marketplace 10
2 Requiem for communism 27
3 The fate of social inequality in liquid modern times 40
4 Strangers are dangers . . . Are they indeed? 52
5 Consumerism and morality 72
6 Privacy, secrecy, intimacy, human bonds and other collateral casualties of liquid modernity 83
7 Luck and the individualization of remedies 94
8 Seeking in modern Athens an answer to the ancient Jerusalem question 104
9 A natural history of evil 128
10 Wir arme Leut′ . . . 150
11 Sociology: whence and whither? 160