The future of work: Disciplined useful activity

Cottey, Alan (2019) The future of work: Disciplined useful activity. Journal of Global Responsibility, 10 (3). pp. 271-286. ISSN 2041-2568

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the importance of the current global ecological overload (GEO) for the future of work in the twenty-first century and to propose a new understanding of what work is. Design/methodology/approach To achieve this purpose, the author uses qualitative methods to assess what is likely and what is possible. The author presents three broad-brush future scenarios, dubbed chaos, muddle and wisdom. The approach adopted depends on two basic normative principles, named Liveable Global Habitat and Necessities as of Right. Findings The neoliberal commitment to economic growth is a driver for GEO. A liveable future requires a decisive turn away from neoliberal values. As part of this, the author proposes a new understanding of work, disciplined useful activity, which differs radically from the current understanding. “Useful” means contributing to two basic principles: to maintain and enhance a civilised human society and a liveable global habitat for a rich variety of species; and to accord to all people, as of right, in practice and not merely in name, the basic necessities of a civilised life. Social implications AI and robots will probably continue to replace today’s kinds of human employment. But this need not render any humans unemployed, whose work (in the new sense) will be wanted in, for two examples, caring (including self-care) and participatory democracy. Originality/value This paper offers a contribution to the resolution of the current and anticipated problems of GEO and of disruptive technologies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainability, global responsibility, future, environmental impact, neoliberalism,sdg 8 - decent work and economic growth ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/decent_work_and_economic_growth
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Chemistry
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2019 08:30
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 04:50
DOI: 10.1108/JGR-11-2018-0075


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