The future of work: disciplined useful activity

The future of work: disciplined useful activity PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the importance of the current global ecological overload (GEO) for the future of work in the twenty-first century and to propose a new understanding of what work is.Design/methodology/approachTo achieve this purpose, the author uses qualitative methods to assess what is likely and what is possible. The author presents three broad-brush future scenarios, dubbed chaos, muddle and wisdom. The approach adopted depends on two basic normative principles, named Liveable Global Habitat and Necessities as of Right.FindingsThe neoliberal commitment to economic growth is a driver for GEO. A liveable future requires a decisive turn away from neoliberal values. As part of this, the author proposes a new understanding of work, disciplined useful activity, which differs radically from the current understanding. “Useful” means contributing to two basic principles: to maintain and enhance a civilised human society and a liveable global habitat for a rich variety of species; and to accord to all people, as of right, in practice and not merely in name, the basic necessities of a civilised life.Social implicationsAI and robots will probably continue to replace today’s kinds of human employment. But this need not render any humans unemployed, whose work (in the new sense) will be wanted in, for two examples, caring (including self-care) and participatory democracy.Originality/valueThis paper offers a contribution to the resolution of the current and anticipated problems of GEO and of disruptive technologies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Global Responsibility Emerald Publishing

The future of work: disciplined useful activity

Journal of Global Responsibility, Volume 10 (3): 16 – Aug 15, 2019

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2041-2568
DOI
10.1108/JGR-11-2018-0075
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the importance of the current global ecological overload (GEO) for the future of work in the twenty-first century and to propose a new understanding of what work is.Design/methodology/approachTo achieve this purpose, the author uses qualitative methods to assess what is likely and what is possible. The author presents three broad-brush future scenarios, dubbed chaos, muddle and wisdom. The approach adopted depends on two basic normative principles, named Liveable Global Habitat and Necessities as of Right.FindingsThe neoliberal commitment to economic growth is a driver for GEO. A liveable future requires a decisive turn away from neoliberal values. As part of this, the author proposes a new understanding of work, disciplined useful activity, which differs radically from the current understanding. “Useful” means contributing to two basic principles: to maintain and enhance a civilised human society and a liveable global habitat for a rich variety of species; and to accord to all people, as of right, in practice and not merely in name, the basic necessities of a civilised life.Social implicationsAI and robots will probably continue to replace today’s kinds of human employment. But this need not render any humans unemployed, whose work (in the new sense) will be wanted in, for two examples, caring (including self-care) and participatory democracy.Originality/valueThis paper offers a contribution to the resolution of the current and anticipated problems of GEO and of disruptive technologies.

Journal

Journal of Global ResponsibilityEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 15, 2019

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