Mobility and precarity

Published on Dec 15, 2018

We can observe three kinds of nomadism throughout history: physical (historical nomadism), intellectual/spiritual (globalism or mercantile nomadism), and digital (not only digital nomads but also digital transformation as a whole). This three-dimensional nomadism is called neo-nomadism.

Neo-nomadism is everywhere in our sedentary societies. You can witness it in political nomads (migrants, refugees, homeless people...), workers (expats) or travelers. You can especially observe it in every trade flow around the globe shaping both economic and social phenomenon.

Unlike historical nomads, a neo-nomad does not belong to a given tribe. Sometimes those relationships are short-lived, limited to social networks. Deeply individualistic, he puts his freedom above others. It's a society where goods of consumption become transient (planned obsolescence), where a thirst for new material possessions prevails. Neo-nomadism serves the richest: people like me who travel to improve their quality of life, or for financial reasons (pay fewer taxes, tax evasion ...). On the other hand, political nomads end up without landmarks and are excluded (ie the European migrant "crisis").

Getting used to a new location takes time. Human beings strive for stability, but we consume in a way that favors everything ephemeral. Cities became temporary habitats where urbanization and urban misery (shanty towns) induce the rapid construction of new living spaces. In France, 1 household out of 3 has been occupying its apartment for less than 4 years. The average commute time never ceases to increase: 1 hour and a half per day in Paris. Workers became consumables. All of those behaviors combined induce unemployment and competition as an institution. Companies are compelled to adapt to the quest for profit and the strong competition resulting from globalization. Contracts, rather than laws. For example, delocalization provides a mean for more profit while ignoring basic human rights.

We favor competitivity and busyness, at what cost? Public institutions are closing. Mercantile nomadism serves the states and their citizens, but the market still prevails.

Globalism offers flexibility and freedom, but also cultural homogenization and precarity. How can we reconcile both? I want to think about an alter-nomadism.