cannot be legislated but requires popular support, that it requires commensurate changes in government and the prevailing culture, and that the introduction of social factors can be destructive as well as beneficial (witness the legacy of Soviet communism). Professor Bruyn is hardly a utopian, but a cooiminded, objective, social analyst. These qualities give Severyn Bruyn’s work that special authority reserved for a small group of gifted and articulate scholars who have pioneering in charting the heretofore unknown world of social economy. This difficult journey first started with Karl Marx, Max Weber, Thorstein Veblen, and others making up a small band of critical economists. Its ranks swelled with the more familiar works of later pioneers like John Kenneth Galbraith, Neil Smelser, Kenneth Boulding, Daniel Bell, and Charles Lindblom. And now a large intellectual movement is
growing under the leadership of contemporary scholars like Amitai Etzioni, Lester Thurow, Robert Reich, Hazel Henderson, and (I think many would say) myself. By surveying the full trajectory of economic thought from this historic perspective, it becomes clear that enormous gains have been made along this path, and more rapid progress is underway now leading us to a revolutionary new perspective of economics which Severyn Bruyn has captured nicely in this book. A new economic order is rising out of that vast and subtle social domain which was formerly hidden from view, finally drawing our attention to all the human, social, and democratic concerns we have previously ignored. If you wish to understand this new economic order, read A Future for the American Economy: The Social Market, by Severyn Bruyn.
Fragmented Societies: A Sociology of Economic life Beyond the Market Paradigm Enzo Mingione (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1991) Throughout the 1980s Enzo Mingione has been a powerful voice calling attention to the creeping informalization of work in industrially advanced societies. In so doing, he has refocused attention on the survival strategies of mar6inaiized groups within capitalist societies which, far from being anachronistic seem to be increasing in significance. Ultimately, he sees these groups not as marginal in the future scheme of things, but as a symptom of a changing system of social Dr Ken Ducatel is a lecturer in the Programme of Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (PREST), University of Manchester, Manchester Ml3 9PL, UK (Tel: 061 273 5930; Fax: 061273 1123).
regulation. The prognosis is a continuing decline in regular work, particularly of the male breadwinner earning a family wage associated with the golden age of Fordism. Instead, there will be a move towards much more complex work patterns, with households engaging in a variety of survival strategies: by people taking on two, three or more jobs; by engaging in informal, and in some cases illicit work activities; by having multiple careers; by having to defer normal lifecycle changes, such as setting up a home or a family, because of lack of monetary resources; by the intergenerational persistence of poverty; and so on. fnformalization is complexifying the life choices, and chances, of a wide swathe of social groups. Thus, the phenomena which Mingione addresses cannot be relegated to some separate marginal informal economy. Instead his thesis is that we live in ‘fragmented societies’ not because they
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are disorganized or disrupted, but because there is an ‘increasingly intricate and diversified system of social organization’ (page 118). The aim of this book is in part to act as an antidote to the dominance of the market paradigm in both economic and sociological approaches to understanding development. Mingione argues strongly that the doctrines of free competition have been so influential that associative and reciprocal forms of social organization have been neglected. For the uninitiated these two terms are more than slightly burdensome at first in understanding Mingione. In brief, ‘associative socialities’ are social relations which are mediated through association within groups, thus class struggle and mutual support can be seen as associative. Mingione makes the point, however, that redistribution, through state welfare systems can for most purposes also be thought of as associative. Reciprocity however relates to the giving and receiving that takes place within social groups. Reciprocal exchanges are rarely concluded with a single transaction, there may be timelags between giving and receiving, and benefactors may not always also be beneficiaries. In simple terms, reciprocity refers to the sorts of exchanges which take place through personal contact, inside families, among friends and so on. The neglect of reciprocal and associative factors is now of radical concern if only because of the growing stature of the informalization of work. Work has generally been taken to mean ‘official employment’, when clearly many other activities take place which result in the production of goods and services. Only by including reciprocal and associative exchanges within the ambit of work activities can we begin to understand the social changes which are leading to fragmented societies. Work is any activity which results in the production of goods and services, whether they are exchanged in formal markets, informal markets or are kept within the family. In this sense, work provides a bridge between economic and social analysis. Likewise, Mingione claims that his work is an attempt at bridging the chasm between economistic and sociological
analysis. Although, while concurring totally with his desire to find a means to cross that intellectual gap, it has to be said that the current work is unlikely to be effective in that regard. Mingione’s thick sociological dialect is probably just as impenetrable to willing interdisciplinary economist adventurers as their production functions would be to him. On the other hand, why should economists be willing to explore Mingione’s analysis? While he claims that the book is a contribution to theorization of the gap between the market paradigm and social organization, he makes only a scant foray into the realm of economics. For instance, his reference to the large and burgeoning area of transactional and institutional economics is hidden in a single footnote. The footnote in turn refers only indirectly to this literature through a review of institutional approaches to economic regulation. This can hardly be said to be meeting the economistic interpreters halfway.
Roots of informalization These points should not distract, however, from the strength of his analysis and insights when he remains on his own well investigated territory, which is in the area of reciprocal exchange. From a much wider analysis of work he moves to a discussion of the roots of informalization, to which (in keeping with his fragmenting societies thesis) he attributes multiple causation: structural changes such as the new forms of dual labour markets; growing exploitation of certain social groups; and the tertiarization of society (leading to a growth of casualized service industry jobs and a decline of family wage). Within the matrix of causes of informalization the role of technological change is certainly not privileged. Mingione accepts that technologies may increase the opportunities for self-provisioning, or the replacement of services by commodities. However, consumer technologies are very unevenly available; there are significant dangers that these new technologies could lead to a relative decline in the position of some social groups. Mingione is unclear on
the specifics of his meaning, but the implication is that there may be some technological redundancy in personal services and some workers may be subjected to new forms of surveillance, control and, perhaps in the case of the new electronic homeworkers, isolation. Although, in the course of the book Mingione gives relatively little explicit consideration to technological change, it is there as an element of restructuring at most stages of his argument. But his main theme is that social regulation is the key to understanding the contemporary fragmentation of society. In the context of informalization, where the household becomes the basic unit of revolves social regulation analysis, around the survival strategies that allow the households to reproduce. This approach results in a fascinating chapter which examines a number of exemplary household survival strategies in advanced capitalist society. This he does through time-budget analysis. He delivers many insights on the transformation of household time-budgets, as monetary and non-monetary forms of exchange shift in response to the fortunes of the household group. However, one cannot help but feel that his study of different types of household and their survival strategies, while lengthy, is more descriptive than analytical. There is little supporting evidence to substantiate his choices of household structure, plausible though they are. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that the declining prospects for safe family wage-earning employment are contributors to the importance of informalization. Structural unemployment of between 5% and IO%, which is now accepted as endemic in advanced capitalism, represents for Mingione a surplus population. But he emphasizes the importance, in the fragmented society, of not conflating this surplus population with informalization. The latter is a much more complex phenomenon, with only part of its explanation in mass unemployment. In many cases participation in the formal labour force is a necessary condition of access to informal and irregular work opportunities. For inin his detailed case-study of stance, Italian irregular and illegal work he cites
examples of undeclared multiple job holding undertaken by workers in secure employment as part of widespread tax evasion. Examples include teachers doing private tuition, car mechanics and car workers moonlighting by repairing cars in their spare time; and so on. However, that is not to say that there are not serious negative social implications of a large-scale informal For many households, in workforce. Italy and elsewhere, multiple job holding and undeclared work are not hobbies or undertaken for pin money, they are indeed strategies of survival. In the Italian case there are estimated to be around 7 million such workers, or around 35% of the working population (criminal activities are thought to take in a further half million workers or more). In this lengthy book Mingione demonstrates a masterly grasp of the theoretical aspects of informalizing trends in advanced capitalist (and socialist and less developed) societies. His thesis is well supported and documented, as one would expect from a research project which originated as long ago as the 1970s. However, there are aspects in the fabric of his argument, which require both further empirical and theoretical elaboration. In the main these come from the great ambitions which Mingione has for the book. He tries to encompass in his analysis not only advanced capitalism, but the socialist and less developed countries as well. Unfortunately, the sections covering these issues are not well integrated into his general thesis, and the merit of the extra bulk of these bolt-on sections is debatable. The fact that his treatment of socialist and developing economies is confined to a separate section raises the mischievous thought in this reader’s mind that he has not really gone ‘beyond the market paradigm’, but is merely elaborating an area within it. This points to a final theoretical problem. Reciprocal exchanges, in the chapter on survival strategies, become inseparable from any human exchange for which monetary payment is not received. Call me romantic but I baulk at the idea that interpersonal transactions are always only work!