The position of labor in trendy societies has all the time been fraught, however by no means greater than throughout a time of huge job displacement through the pandemic. Because the acute public well being disaster ebbs, nonetheless, we’re ready to re-evaluate and even redefine “work” and its place in our lives. How can work meet the wants of a society torn by crises in public well being, wealth and racial inequality, suppressed labor organizing, and fraying democratic methods? How can we rework our society from one in every of capitalistic exploitation—by which work is synonymous with grind tradition, hierarchy, and our particular person value—to at least one by which work of all types is valued culturally and financially, and promotes dignity and well-being? How can we transition to a society the place a job is just not a prerequisite to having meals, shelter, or freedom?
There’s an extended historical past stretching again to the Center Ages that resulted in our occupations figuring out our socioeconomic standing, and what rights and privileges accrue to it. What did work imply for pre-capitalistic (and pre-feudal) societies? How did we come to a spot the place a job, regardless of how demeaning or poorly compensated, is meant not simply to supply for our wants, but additionally be “fulfilling”? What would society appear like if assets have been allotted based mostly upon want, as a substitute of how a lot your toil elevated earnings for another person?
What would folks do if they’d no worry of poverty, however have been as a substitute centered on searching for satisfaction and pleasure? And what do we have to do to get there?
The Fall 2022 problem of YES! Journal, the “Work” problem, will look at what work actually means in up to date society, and what it may imply if our society have been reordered to prioritize well being, achievement, equity, and pleasure. We’ll take a look at options which might be variations to the present system, equivalent to labor organizing, diminished workweeks, and prioritizing well-being and leisure. We’ll additionally discover boundary-pushing concepts, equivalent to universalism as an alternative choice to means-tested or pay-for-privilege advantages; an finish to unpaid labor within the residence; different constructions of enterprise that worth fairness, equity, and democratic determination making; and severing the connection between a job and primary human wants.
The place are there compelling tales on these subjects in your communities? Ship us your leads and pitches for reported tales on initiatives or teams which might be reworking the character and function of labor.
All of the tales we search shall be examples of wonderful journalism and storytelling: tales which might be well-researched, with compelling characters and that exhibit wrestle and determination. Hurry and ship your pitches to [email protected] by April 29 to be thought-about for the Fall 2022 problem. (After that, you may proceed to ship them to [email protected])