The End of Work?
By Evan Biy / filmsforaction.org
Feb 28, 2015

The End of Work?

       A great deal of academic research in the 20th Century focused on the negative effects of Capitalist Industrialisation; environmental effects, child labour, alienation in work- the list goes on. The beginning of the 21st Century marked at change in discourse. In the modern age scholars, ironically, began investigating the negative effects of de-industrialisation.

      The intensification of global market forces on employment, unregulated by the nation state, coupled with new technologies accelerating the process of job loss means that in the 21st century the “job for life” is no longer viable for the vast majority- are we entering the end of work?

      As the 2008 economic collapse illustrated, western society’s core structural framework, based in employment, was no longer a strong basis for social identity. In the past, if you worked hard, got good grades, graduated from university and got a good job you were said to have safety and an identity for life. This is no longer true. In the 21st Century a potential for a ‘proletarianisation’ of white collar workers is a plausible and distinct possibility.

       During the Industrial Age work was the main orientation point in reference to which all other life pursuits could be planned and ordered. Today we are less certain of this. An attainment of a social identity through work is no longer viable for the vast majority, in a working sphere where certainty and longevity have become blurred. Today, social identity in western societies is largely, or solely, derived from what the individual consumes, thus marginalising work based meaning. Paid employment is no longer the source of identity, but is instead used as the main generator of identity for both the rich and poor. The rich can gain said identity through consumption of the ‘right’ products, whilst the poor are left behind as the “flawed consumer”, becoming devoid of social meaning.

       While having negative implications in the short to medium term, the end of work as we know it is positive in the long term; are we approaching a Utopianism at work? Work must now lose its centrality in the minds, thoughts and imaginations of everyone. The social bond it forged was weak and abstract. While it did insert people into social labour and social relationships, these were only by products of being cogs in the immense machine. Are we heading towards a world where upon first interaction with a new person we no longer ask “And what do you do?”

        Nostalgia for the age of full employment is the last point of relevance for the now ended Industrial age. Once this nostalgia has ceased the truly major issue of the second modernity can flourish front and centre. A reformation of the working social structure is seen by many academics, to lie in a mixture of paid employment and voluntary work. State guarantees on a minimum income and a revival of the civil society, along with a conscious re-evaluation of the stigma attached to welfare schemes will allow community togetherness to flourish and identity to be gained from pursuits of interest.

        A move away from the alienation which categorised the Industrial Age towards a world of work which is challenging and fulfilling is a clearly achievable goal as we venture deeper into the 21st Century. Individuals will develop a range of skills and engage in numerous activities. The salient question when meeting someone new will no longer be “what do you do?” but instead “what do you enjoy doing?” and everyone will have an answer.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
7 Signs of Tyranny
2 min · 11,500 views today · Consider yourself warned.
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 7,667 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
How Independent is Hollywood?
4 min · 4,503 views today · A huge number of big-budget Hollywood films, especially those featuring war, conflict or terrorism, are influenced by Hollywood's close relationship with the United States...
4.1 Miles
21 min · 2,632 views today · Kyriakos Papadopoulos is a 41-year old local captain of the Greek Coast Guard. He has two wonderful young daughters Vivi and Melissa, and before the refugee crisis exploded in...
How Comedy Can Disarm Bullies
3 min · 2,429 views today · As long as you're funny, it can get you out of almost anything - even getting mugged, as co-founder of Between Two Ferns Scott Aukerman recounts. Unfortunately, not everyone...
Why Would Any of Us Want to Live like a Savage?
Juan Pablo Quinonez · 2,115 views today · Let’s not be romantic. Industrial civilization is no utopia. For every creature comfort we have, something or someone pays the price. The wilderness is no fairy tale either...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,834 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 1,227 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
What It Takes to Change Hearts and Minds
Colin Beavan · 1,209 views today · To get someone’s support, you need more than just facts.
Immigrants For Sale (2015)
33 min · 994 views today · The detention of migrants has become a multi-billion dollar industry in which immigrants are sold to the highest bidder and traded like mere products. The Corrections...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 948 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 891 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 879 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 772 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 766 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
The Trump Report - The Real Fake News About The Dakota Access Pipeline
2 min · 631 views today · President Trump is sick of the lying fake news media, so he's doing the news himself. Today on The Trump Report: Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline (great...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 528 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 525 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 461 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 390 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
The End of Work?