In 2011 Guy Standing, then an economist at the University of Bath, prefaced his new book with a warning.
He described a growing class of "precariat" workers, alienated by a western political agenda which had, since the 1970s, promoted market-led competition above job security. Real wages across the west had stalled for decades and "flexible" work was becoming the norm, leaving many millions around the world "without an anchor of stability."
This precariat, he said, "are prone to listen to ugly voices, and to use their votes and money to give those voices a political platform of increasing influence." Such conditions had created "an incipient political monster," and action was needed "before that monster comes to life."
Five years on, Standing says, "that monster has arrived."
"The precariat I’ve written about consists of several factions," he told Business Insider from his home in Switzerland.