Articles & Blogs on the Meaning & Future of Work

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Why “Essential” Workers Are Treated as Disposable

“Grocery store clerks. Fast-food cashiers. Hospice care workers. Bus drivers. Farmworkers. […] We call them heroes, we label them ‘essential,’ and we clap for their brave efforts — even though none of them signed up for this monumental task, and many of them lack basic health care, paid sick leave, a living wage, cultural respect, and dignified working conditions. This conversation on The Ezra Klein Show asks: How did things get this way? Why did we end up with an economy that treats our most essential workers as disposable? And what does an alternative future of work look like?”

Work. Democratize, Decommodify, Remediate

“Human health and the care of the most vulnerable cannot be governed by market forces alone. If we leave these things solely to the market, we run the risk of exacerbating inequalities to the point of forfeiting the very lives of the least advantaged. How to avoid this unacceptable situation? By involving employees in decisions relating to their lives and futures in the workplace – by democratizing firms. By decommodifying work – by collectively guaranteeing useful employment to all.”

[a manifesto that has been published today in its original in French in Le Monde and translated and published in 37 other places]

Book Review: Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy

In Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy, Alexandrea Ravenelle offers a new ethnographic study that examines working life for people in the gig economy that was so lauded as a way out of unemployment after the 2008 financial crisis, focusing on Uber, TaskRabbit, Kitchensurfing and AirBnB.

Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone? – New on Our Bookshelf

“Blanchflower practices the “economics of walking about”—seeing for himself how ordinary people are faring under the recovery, and taking seriously what they say and do. Not Working is his candid report on how the young and the less skilled are among the worst casualties of underemployment, how immigrants are taking the blame, and how the epidemic of unhappiness and self-destruction will continue to spread unless we deal with it.”

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