The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “joblessness

Kellogg’s and a Future of Contradictions

Posted on December 11, 2013

  So, it’s done, and the effect has been devastating.  Just in time for Christmas, the city of London was informed that the historic Kellogg’s plant will be fully closed down in a year’s time.  It’s not as though London can afford the loss of another major facility; we’ve been losing more than our fair share lately. No sooner had the announcement been made than the employees themselves become swept up in the various agendas of other groups.  For just one day it would have been good to focus solely on the them and what this will mean to their futures.  The company will move operations to its Belleville plant and keep at it, but the workers … well, they soon won’t be workers.…

History’s Trick

Posted on October 18, 2013

There were many good responses to these last few blog posts on the future of work – some very worth exploring. But largely our leaders of politics and economics just return our questions with a deafening silence.  At the moment, there is no inclination to deal with the problem of the slow disappearance of work. Political theorist, Judith Shklar, used to maintain that work is more crucial to the core values of democracy than anything else, including family or even government.  Shklar died some 20 years ago, just at the onset of burgeoning unemployment. What would she think of her theory today, now that work has been demeaned, or worse, done away with altogether?  Even if she were partially correct, then the loss of…

The Precipice

Posted on October 17, 2013

A number of folks responded to yesterday’s blog and wondered what the solutions might be to a future without work.  Those answers are beyond my knowledge.  I know that in my time in politics that the subject was rarely broached.  But at different non-political sessions I attended (university seminars, United Nations special panels), the subject was front and centre and carried with it its own growing body of research that points to a difficult future. Perhaps what is required is an entirely new look at how modern societies function and the role that work – physical, mental, emotional – can play in arenas outside of economic production.  What would happen if, in addition to production, we moved employment in the post-industrial world to embrace…

The Great Hollowing Out

Posted on October 16, 2013

What is it going to look like when we eventually reach the stage where only two in five citizens actually have a liveable wage?  What is to become of work itself – its meaning, contribution, benefit for the charitable sector, and its link to the value of citizenship?  How will those who no longer work acquire any dignity or status within a modern society?  If labour is always linked to capitalist production, what happens when it’s not?  What if nothing is really required from most of us in a world of globalization? We can’t seriously discuss such questions right now in either the political or economic spectrums because … well, it’s just too disruptive to consider.  There will be plateaus along the way that…

Valueless Work

Posted on September 18, 2013

WE THOUGHT IT INVIOLATE, the link between work and production.  But like the relationship between democracy and voting, or citizenship and responsibility, historic alliances appear in decline.  We just so happen to live in a generation in which change has been so profound that the foundations of stability that we have counted on for centuries seem no longer dependable.  History appeared to concur with Aristotle: “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”  Yet history now seems to be at a pivot point.  Once a sense of fulfillment is hollowed out of human toil all that is left is drudgery.  But for those on the top of the economic pile work has become commodified – a means to an end that thinks little…

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