Farewell to the Self-Employed: Deconstructing a Socioeconomic and Legal Solipsism
M. Linder, Farewell to the Self-Employed: Deconstructing a Socioeconomic and Legal Solipsism, Greenwood Press, 1992
217 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2013
Date Written: 1992
This book argues that the socioeconomic theory of self-employment is rooted in a misconceptualization and that the formulation of public policy toward the self-employed is misguided and dysfunctional. The book begins with an analysis of the methodology of the most important enumeration of the self-employed, which reveals defects so fundamental as to render the commonly used data virtually worthless; in this connection sociologists and economists are criticized for counting before knowing what they are studying (ch. 2). Chapter 3 develops a class-rooted analysis of self-employment focusing on the latter’s hybrid character, Which makes it, at least as an ideal type, extraterritorial to capitalist production. The question of economic and personal independence — the holy grail of self-employment forms a crucial link in this discussion. Chapter 4 is devoted to several currently prominent substantive aspects of the self-employed: where they work, how much they earn, and what inferences can be drawn from the dramatic rise in the number or share of self-employed women. Chapter 5 examines the relationship between self-employment and unemployment and its legislative and judicial revaluation. Underlying this change is an appreciation of the self-employed as overlapping with the dependent employed population. Contrary to the claims of some researchers that the official statistical account of self-employment is flawed because it ignores those who incorporate (themselves), an examination of tax, pension, and corporation law in chapter 6 explains why this approach cannot save the thesis of a renaissance of the self-employed. The last chapter offers a political-economic explanation of the need to dismember the category of the self-employed and redistribute its constituent parts to the capitalist and working classes, where they objectively — and increasingly subjectively — belong.
Keywords: Self-employed, self-employment, employees, unemployment, Current Population Survey, class, income, exploitation, incorporation
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