Future of Work

Bit of a side project here. Stay with me while I get this posted and then we’ll add to it as time goes on.

Here is a list of articles about the changing nature of work. It’s interesting, I think, because it affects almost everybody directly, and the pace of change has clearly outrun the abilities of our political leadership.

Somebody’s going to have to figure out how to make this new world work. Please send your suggestions for additions to this list. It’s a work in progress, and I hope it serves as a resource for interested parties It should grow over time. I will add new articles as I find them. I have no affiliation with nor do I necessarily endorse any of these articles.

Another issue touches this one – the extent to which Neoliberalism as we popularly understand it has either helped to bring about or may itself be changed by the future of work.

Let me declare that my point of view is informed by mostly lefty books like Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason, How Will Capitalism End by Wolfgang Streek, the columns of Dani Rodrik and by George Monbiot, who I think describes Neoliberalism pretty well in this video.

For our purposes let’s define Neoliberalism as the elevation of the interests of capital and the free market over aspects of government deemed to be barriers to capital accumulation, such as legislation and regulatory measures that restrict capital flows and investment.

A definition like that is meant to draw fire. Let’s fight in the comments section.

Now though, the list:

The gig economy is nothing new – it was standard practice in the 18th century
As Amazon Pushes Forward With Robots, Workers Find New Roles
Bernie Sanders’s Bill Gets America Zero Percent Closer to Single Payer
Future of Work
Stop Crying About the Size of Government. Start Caring About Who Controls It.
The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart
The BIG Library: Books About Basic Income
The end of work as we know it?
The Globalization of Our Discontent
Apocalyptic populism
Will globalisation go into reverse?
The great globalisation lie
Persistent Precarity, The making of a generation.
Why Is Japan Populist-Free?
What happens when the jobs dry up in the new world? The left must have an answer
Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs
The Internet Is Enabling a New Kind of Poorly Paid Hell
The Human Cost of the Ghost Economy
What Amazon Does to Poor Cities
The end of capitalism has begun
How Hunter-Gatherers May Hold the Key to our Economic Future

It may be that over time some of these links will become busted. It’s the way of the internet. I post them here as I see them. If these are a help to you please let me know how.

Populism, the Future of Jobs and the UBI

An automated bartender pours your beer at Narita airport, Japan

Here is how populism works, in Ian Buruma’s crisp description: “Resentment feeds off a sense of humiliation, a loss of pride. In a society where human worth is measured by individual success, symbolized by celebrity and money, it is easy to feel humiliated by a relative lack of it, of being just another face in the crowd. In extreme cases, desperate individuals will assassinate a president or a rock star just to get into the news. Populists find support among those resentful faces in the crowd, people who feel that elites have betrayed them, by taking away their sense of pride in their class, their culture, or their race.”

“This has not happened in Japan yet,” he says, where “self-worth is defined less by individual fame or wealth than by having a place in a collective enterprise, and doing the job one is assigned as well as one can.”

For example, “People in department stores seem to take genuine pride in wrapping merchandise beautifully. Some jobs – think of those uniformed middle-aged men who smile and bow at customers entering a bank – appear to be entirely superfluous. It would be naive to assume that these tasks give huge satisfaction, but they offer people a sense of place, a role in society, however humble.”

This is one reason Japan has skirted some of the problems of neo-liberalism, he thinks, along with some other less savory reasons like “corporate interests, bureaucratic privileges, and pork-barrel politics….”

Removing any sense of community in the name of efficiency, Buruma believes, has been the road to neo-lib perdition. (His example: “Thatcherism has probably made the British economy more efficient … by crushing trade unions and other established institutions of working-class culture.”)


Buruma ties populism (in Japan, at least) to job satisfaction, and while debate over populism rages everywhere on the internet these days, talk about jobs seems to come (as it ever was) mostly from the left. What once was a debate centered narrowly on the loss of jobs due to automation has now opened up to include the very future of work. It’s a subject that has caught my imagination. I’ve compiled a list of relevant articles and websites below the fold, in case you’re interested.

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