January 20, 2019

THERE IS NO DIGNITY IN A BOONDOGGLE:

This is our chance to completely redefine the meaning of work (Alex Gray, 1/09/19, WEF)

A recent paper by the Tinbergen Institute in the Netherlands revealed that a quarter of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. The study of 100,000 workers from 47 countries found that 8% perceive their job as "socially useless", while a further 17% are doubtful about the usefulness of their job.

So what does work really mean anyway? For many it's a hierarchical relationship between employer and employee, in which the latter is paid and contributes a portion to the government in the form of taxes.

But there's another way to think about work, argues Bregman. Work should be defined simply as doing something that adds value to society.

Of course, this type of work already exists. No-one would argue that doctors, teachers, care workers, cleaners, and those working in garbage disposal aren't doing useful work. But Bregman says there are a great many jobs that contribute nothing to society - so-called "bu[***]t jobs".

Bregman argues that the social usefulness of many jobs has been in decline since the middle of the last century. And the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is only going to exacerbate the problem.

"In the 50s, 60s and 70s, if you were really talented in your field you would probably go into research or government," he says.

"But then what started to happen in the 80s in advanced economies is that it became much more financially attractive to move into financial services and the tech industry. While there is useful work being done there, we also know, especially with the financial sector, that it involves a huge amount of people getting rich at expense of others.

Conservatives, in particular, ought to be leading the charge to assign value to the work required to develop and maintain healthy marriages, families, neighborhoods, communities, civil society, etc., instead of mere jobs.

Posted by at January 20, 2019 10:05 AM

  

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