The main question I seek to explore is “How does the notion of luxury brand influence
my understanding of precarity? The need for this study emerges from the stark dichotomy
that exists between the haves and the have-nots. A recent Oxfam report warns of inequity
on a global scale, “The combined wealth of the world’s richest 1% will overtake that of
everyone else by next year given the current trend of rising inequality…” (Oxfam, 2015).
Additionally, the report warned, “the top 1% had an average wealth of
$2.7 mn per adult…” and “the richest 80 individuals in the world had the same wealth
as the poorest 50% of the entire population, some 3.5 billion people.” In other words, 80
persons have more money than three-and-a-half billion people.
This inequity is so vast and the wealth gap is quite concerning for many reasons
globally, but also in the United States. Aimee Picchi from CBS MoneyWatch points out
that “The wealth gap undermines economic growth by dampening social mobility and
creating a less-educated workforce unable to compete in the global economy” (Picchi,
2014). As the wealth gap widens, the middle-class becomes more precarious. Employment
is no longer based upon a Fordist model. The Fordist model is mechanistic, common in
modernity, and is based upon the worker in the Ford Motor Company. The Fordist model
supposes that a worker and a company form a lasting relationship, whereby the worker
performs well in the given job and the company provides a pension and job security. Brett
Neilson and Ned Rossiter argue that “precariousness is the norm in capitalism” and
Fordism is the “…aberration or exception” (Gill and Pratt, 2008, p. 4). I began to think
about the dichotomy. The precariat often encounters short-term work assignments, or
part-time work, or full-time work without long-term job security. Additionally, the precariat lacks a pension and is lucky to have a defined contribution retirement plan;
hence, the onus is on the employee to save.