Articles & Blogs on the Meaning & Future of Work

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A Fair Allocation of the Costs of Precarious Employment: A Proposal for Europe

Never in human history has wage income been so fragile and transitory. Even if precariousness were to be considered as, all things considered, desirable (or at least inevitable), it would have to be regarded as a negative externality of economic and technological development, and as such it should raise a problem of justice concerning the distribution of costs vis-a-vis benefits of cooperation. I will therefore argue that the main problem of those people who lack a fixed-term job, at least in Europe, is that they live as precarious workers in a world which is still designed for permanent workers.

Winning essay in the category young scholars of the Future Markets Consultation essay contest

Is It Time to Rethink Quotas?

This paper examines the labor market, and argues that quotas should increasingly be used in the hiring process. At a time when more women than ever before are leaving the labor market due to imposed shutdowns stated to combat COVID-19, as well as persistent economic inequality between white people and ethnic minorities, together with the fact that an entire generation of young people have had their grades and education disrupted or stopped because of the pandemic, the allocation of jobs in many sectors can no longer be left to the market mechanism. The use of quotas to ensure that every segment of the community is in gainful employment is therefore recommended and is aligned with the concept of “inclusive development”.

Nominated essay in the category young scholars of the Future Markets Consultation essay contest

A New Rule Book for a New Transition

It appears that humanity’s industrial period, with all the benefits it has brought, is tilting out of stability (if there ever was one), and that a new transition, a new order, must take its place. We must, then, wonder: what will this new rule book entail? If all economics are economics of transition, then what does this transition need? What can it keep from its predecessors and what must it shed? This essay will analyze these questions as relating to three different components of the economy: the existence of a common goal, the role of labor, and the value of freedom.

Winner in the category master students of the Future Markets Consultation essay contest.

Work: Democratize, Decommodify, Remediate

“Left to their own devices, most capital investors will not care for the dignity of labor investors; nor will they lead the fight against environmental catastrophe. Another option is available. Democratize firms; decommodify work; stop treating human beings as resources so that we can focus together on sustaining life on this planet”, says a recent manifesto that has meanwhile been signed by more than 3.000 scholars / scientists and that was now also submitted as a viewpoint for the Future Markets Consultation.

Algorithms Are Making Economic Inequality Worse

“The risks of algorithmic discrimination and bias have received much attention and scrutiny, and rightly so. Yet there is another more insidious side-effect of our increasingly AI-powered society — the systematic inequality created by the changing nature of work itself. We fear a future where robots take our jobs, but what happens when a significant portion of the workforce ends up in algorithmically managed jobs with little future and few possibilities for advancement?”

Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism

“In Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism, Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith address the problems in the prevailing discourse on work and outline how exactly we can put a post-work future into practice. As 2020 has witnessed the reshaping of work and workplaces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this thought-provoking book offers a valuable starting point for envisaging a future post-work world, writes Anupama Kumar.”

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