Weekly podcast: There are reasons Amazon is cheap…

February 22, 2018


Ayesha wasn’t able to join today’s podcast and so I had James Bloodworth all to myself.

James has been an occasional contributor to UnHerd and his first piece was actually on our first day – a briefing on how a decade of post-crash austerity has affected different social groups.

The insecurities and hopelessness that characterise life at the bottom provide the unhappy themes for his new book – Hired, six months undercover in low-wage Britain. Hired hits the bookshelves on the 1st of March but is available for pre-order online now – eg from Waterstones.

During today’s thirty minute podcast we spoke about what he saw as an “undercover” employee of Amazon (see a preview published in The Times), Uber, in a care home and, also, in a call centre. It’s a haunting exposure of employers that instil fear in their workers as a routine management tool and of landlords who enrich themselves at the expense of tenants who live in under-heated, cramped and sometimes unsafe accommodation. The power of James’ book lies in his reportage. With a few exceptions he avoids looking at policy solutions. Instead he has presented us with the facts of economic and social life and through them he challenges every person (in our roles as consumers, voters and perhaps shareholders) to decide our own response – as we follow his journeyings through an employment market that is fundamentally dehumanising.

At £12.99 – and preferably not bought through Amazon – Hired contains story after story that we might not want to hear but all need to hear.


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