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