The Meaning and Future of Work

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International Trade Has Cost Americans Millions of Jobs. Investing in Communities Might Offset Those Losses

“Economists generally support ‘people-based’ over ‘place-based’ policies and investments. The rationale is that it’s more important to invest in workers rather than bolster a place where workers live. Economists would argue that directing public funds into regions doing poorly is akin to wasting money. The logical outcome of such policies is that towns that have lost their economic base are allowed to shrink while other economies take their place.”

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction

“In The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction, Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham unpack the ‘how’ of the gig economy through quantative datasets and ethnographic vignettes from countries including the UK, Ghana, South Africa and India. As the study doubles up as a manifesto for the gig economy’s reconstruction, this is an important contribution to the existing literature that provides an excellent summary of existing research and builds on it using extensive fieldwork, writes Krishna Akhil Kumar Adavi.”

The Return of the Labor Question

“Has the pandemic brought the labor question back to life? It may not have achieved the salience of the public-health-in-the-time-of-pandemic question, but it’s surely the most prominent subset of it. The coronavirus has brought a new visibility to a huge share of America’s working class—treated as both essential and disposable—that was previously invisible to much of the nation’s political elite.”

The Relational Economy

“Even before the coronavirus, the boundaries between work and home had thinned, and our vocabularies for both were blending. ‘Emotional capitalism’—a term Perel borrows from sociologist Eva Illouz—leads to first dates that feel like job interviews, as we apply market logic to our love lives. Meanwhile our bosses expect us to bring all the passion we have to our jobs, and in return we expect work to provide ‘authenticity and vulnerability and trust and transparency and belonging,’ according to Perel.”

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