The End of Work
by Jeremy Rifkin
Civilization Structured Around
Concept of Work
Paleolithic hunter/gatherer
Neolithic farmer
Medieval craftsman
Assembly line worker
Today human labor being eliminated from
production process
Unemployment Figure
• U.S. corporations eliminating 2 million jobs
• New jobs in low-paying sectors and
temporary employment
• 2/3 of new jobs created in U.S. were at the
bottom of the wage pyramid
• layoffs from big corporations running 13%
over 1993
Substituting Software for
• Companies replacing humans with thinking
• 75% of labor force in industrial relations
work on simple repetitive tasks
• Future of U.S.--more than 90 million jobs in
a force of 124 million could be replaced by
• Companies restructuring their organizations
to make them computer friendly
• This resulted in a 2.8% productivity
increase (largest rise in 20 years)
• Could eliminate 1-2.5 million jobs per year
in the foreseeable future
• Manufacturing sector most affected
• Less than 17% of workforce engaged in
blue-collar work
• Service and white collar sector are reducing
• Over past 10 years, more than 3 million
white collar jobs eliminated in the U.S.
• Productivity still increasing even though
workforce is shrinking
Unemployment Rates for 1993
• More than 8.7 million unemployed
• 6.1 million worked part but wanted full time
• 1 million were discouraged so they quit job
• 16 million Americans (13% of labor force)
unemployed or underemployed
New realities
• Information and telecommunication
threaten tens of millions of jobs
• New products and services require fewer
workers to produce and operate
• High-tech industries create fewer jobs than
they replace
• Laborsaving technology cuts costs and
increases profits
New Realities
• Companies produce same output at less
costs with fewer workers
• Demand weakened by unemployment , so
businesses extending easy credit
• Middle-class wage earners nearing the
limits of their borrowing capacity
Retraining For What?
• Where will retrained workers find
alternative employment?
• Gap in educational levels too wide between
blue collar and high-tech jobs
• Hope of being retrained for a high-tech job
is out of reach for many
• Not enough jobs available to absorb
dislocated workers
The Shrinking Public Sector
• Public focused on need to cut spending
• Goal-- to eliminate 252,000 federal workers
• Thinning middle-management to save $108
• Computer systems streamline procurement
• Federal, state, and local governments are reengineering and cutting personnel
Visions of Techno-Paradise in the
Late 1800’s
• Industrialized lives provided context for
mechanical view of the world
• “Technological frame of reference”
permanent feature of American life
• Humans thought of themselves as
instruments of production
• New self-image reinforced emerging
productive industrial economy
The Modern Era of Efficiency
• Efficiency--maximum yield that could be
processed in the shortest time, using the
least amount of resources
• Efficiency dominates workplace because of
adaptability to machine and human culture
• Efficiency shortens the amount of personal
labor required to perform a job
• Efficiency results in more personal wealth
and free time
The Modern Era of Efficiency
• Efficiency remade society to the standards
of the machine culture
• Unemployment blamed on inefficient
methods of instruction to youth
• Efficiency is felt everywhere, and demand
becoming more insistent on it
• Efficiency craze carried into private lives
From Democracy to Technology
• Civil Engineer new modern hero
• Organizational ability and efficiency new
coveted values of industrialized America
• Technocrats favored “rule by science”
rather than “rule by man”
• Postwar generation reminded of
technology’s awesome power
From Democracy to Technology
• Dream of techno-paradise within sight
• Technologies promise a near-workerless
world in the coming century
• Marketplace generates profit, with no
thought of generating leisure for displaced
• Will high-tech Information Age emphasize
production, consumption and work or free
humanity to journey into a post-market era?
Crossing into the High-Tech
• Near-workerless society final stage of shift
in economic paradigms
• Transition from biological to mechanical
sources of power
• Thinking machines perform conceptual,
managerial, and administrative functions
and coordinate flow of production
Machines That Think
• Computers taking on tasks of increasing
• Artificial intelligence may outthink humans
by the next century
• Some computers can “talk”
• Scientists hope to humanize their machines
• Computers may soon be seen as intelligent
The Plugged-In Species
• First-generation computers were
• Second-generation reduced size and cost of
computers and increased efficiency
• Third-generation had integrated circuitry
• Fourth-generation based on
microtechnology and microchips
Putting Computers to Work
• Business leaders excited over new
automation revolution
• New generation of computer-driven
numerical control said to mark our
“emancipation from human workers”
• American Negro first group impacted by
Technology and the AfricanAmerican Experience
• Mechanical cotton picker and other
machines replaced black plantation workers
• 5 million blacks migrated north to escape
• They had no capital to weather the
technological storm sweeping over them
• Forced eviction and migration unleashed
social and political forces
Caught Between Technologies
• Blacks found unskilled jobs in the north
• Automation replaced unskilled jobs
• Numerical control technology accelerated
• Businesses flee to suburbs; central cities
become increasingly black
• Urban renaissance increased employment
gap between blacks and whited
Automation and the Making of
the Urban Underclass
• Automation and relocation of
manufacturing jobs split blacks into groups
– underclass (largest group)
– professionals
• Unemployment lead to crime
• Losses in black employment since they
were concentrated in most expendable jobs
Automation and the Urban
• Blacks no longer needed in economic
• Vented frustrations by rioting
• Today, millions of blacks are permanently
trapped in the underclass
• Value of their labor rendered useless by
automated technologies displacing them
The Great Automation Debate
• Academicians warned of dangers of
automation in the future
• Predicted revolution would leave millions
• LBJ created Commission on Automation,
Technology, and Economic progress
The Government Steers a Middle
• The Commission steered course between
two opposing views
– revolution needed quick government action
– Displacement normal & absorbed by economy
• The Commission argued “technology
eliminates jobs, not work”
• In the end, concluded displacement is
necessary and temporary phenomenon
Labor’s Capitulation
• Debate on automation fizzed in the ‘60s
(due to organized labor)
• Union leaders spoke out against new
technological forces
• Labor movement pushed for retraining
• High-skilled jobs created by technology
• Technological forces proves too powerful
Labor’s Capitulation
• Technological unemployment affecting
every sector of the economy
• America’s underclass likely to become more
white and suburban
• Millions lose jobs to technology, and global
purchasing power plummets
• Business restructuring to facilitate new tech.
• World economy laying organizational
groundwork for workerless future
• New technologies cut costs and improved
market share, profits and efficiency
• ROI averaged up to 68%
• Computers contributed to downsizing
• Outmoded organizations were inadequate to
deal with abilities of computer technology
Old-Fashioned Management
• Modern management formed in 1850’s
• To facilitate technology, businesses adopted
more complex managerial schemes
• Modern businesses have pyramid structure
• Americans challenged by Japanese’s
organization arrangement equipped for tech.
The Switch to Lean Production
• Mass-production became world’s standard
• Japanese used with lean production
• Lean production combined new
management techniques with technology to
increase output with less resources & labor
• Combines advantages of craft and mass
production, while cutting costs and and
giving consumers variety
The Switch to Lean Production
• Keeps less inventory and results in fewer
• Replaces traditional management with with
multiskilled teams working together
• Everyone affected participates in
development under concurrent engineering
• Kaizen encourages continual change and
The Switch to Lean Production
• Workers given control over production
• Creates greater efficiencies by encouraging
development of workers
• Pushes decision-making authority as down
as possible
• Places priority on JIT production
The Switch to Lean Production
• JIT based on controlling quality and crisis
• Toyota built a car quicker, in less space,
with fewer defects, & 1/2 the labor than GM
• Emphasizes process, not structure and
function, making Japanese firms suited to
take advantage of information technologies
Re-engineering the Workplace
• Lean production changing every industry
• Eliminating unskilled, semiskilled, and
middle management positions
• Could result in 20% unemployment rate
• Information tools ensure JIT inventories to
meet customer needs
• Compresses time and reduces labor costs
Re-engineering the Workplace
• Unemployment rising and purchasing
power dropping
• Near-workerless world approaching
• May approach before society has time to
prepare for its implications and impact
No More Farmers
• Technology transformed America to an
urban, industrial nation within 100 years
• Less than 2.7% of workforce in farming
• Mechanization and new plant-breeding
techniques went hand-in-hand
• Greater productivity meant fewer farm
workers and farms were necessary to
produce increased output
No More Farmers
• Mechanical, biological, and chemical
revolutions unemployed millions of farmers
• At the same time, productivity is increasing
• Higher yields and greater output have
terrible consequences for family farms
• Caused 9 million persons living in poverty
in depressed rural areas
Soil and Software
• Less farms due to agricultural software and
farm robotics
• Robots may replace manual tasks on land
• Robots used for livestock management
• Sensors will be implanted on animals to
monitor external environment conditions
• Fully automated factory farm less than
twenty years awat
Molecular Farming
• Machines replacing human labor in all areas
• Gene splicing allows scientists to organize
life as a manufactured process
• Biologists see reduced need for labor to
manufacture, transport, and apply chemicals
• Increased productivity of dairy cows
threatens livelihood of dairy farmers
• Pharmaceutical companies hope to increase
productivity & profits and reduce workforce
The End of Outdoor Agriculture
• Manipulation of molecules in the lab likely
to replace traditional agriculture
• Chemical companies investing heavily in
indoor tissue-culture production
• Lab-produced vanilla eliminates the bean,
plant, cultivation, harvest, and farmer
• Lab production of thaumatin will reduce
worldwide sugar market
The End of Outdoor Agriculture
• Tissue culture next stage of a process that
continues to reduce market share of farming
• Genetic-engineering companies hoped to
eliminate the farmer altogether
• Goal to convert food production into wholly
industrial process bypassing farming
• Indoor tissue-culture food production will
eliminate millions of jobs
The End of Outdoor Agriculture
• Tissue-culture substitution causes collapse
of national economies, unemployment, and
default on international loans
• Breakthroughs promise high productivity
and reductions in labor
• Manufacturing and service sectors can’t
absorb displaced farm workers
Hanging Up the Blue Collar
• Continuous-process technologies in 1880s
introduces new approach to manufacturing
• Automatic machinery produced goods with
little or no human input
• Today, information & communication
technologies facilitate more sophisticated
continuous-process manufacturing
Automating the Automobile
• Restructuring resulting in layoffs of bluecollar workers on the assembly line
• Automakers seek innovations to increase
production and reduce labor
• View labor-displacing technology as best
bet to cut costs and improve profit
• Robots approach human capabilities while
avoiding problems of human agents
Computing Steel
• Same changes in organization and
production taking place in steel industry
• High-tech mills transform steelmaking to
highly automated continuous operation
• Automated facilities reduce production time
to 1 hour and reduce its workforce
• Mini-mills reduce employment
• Steel automation leave blue collar workers
Computing Steel
• New manufacturing methods combined
with restructuring management hierarchy
turn steelmaking into era of lean production
• Self-managing work teams reduce managers
• Industries using steel emphasizing lean
• Automated processes will have
psychological and economic impact on
national economies
The Silicon-Collar Workforce
• Rubber industry affected by re-engineering
• Extractive industries affected by automation
• Automation of mining industry left
• Chemical refining industry substituting
machines for human labor
• Strides in re-engineering and automation
occurring in electronics industry
The Silicon-Collar Workforce
• High-tech equipment increase productivity
& eliminate jobs in appliance industry
• Textiles industry most affected by Industrial
• Textiles have lagged behind due to laborintensiveness of sewing process
• Today, industry catching up through leanproduction practices and automated systems
The Silicon-Collar Workforce
• Technology makes garment manufacturing
in industrial nations cost-competitive
• Automation of high end manufacturing
resulting in record loss of jobs
• By next century, blue collar worker will be
a casualty of Third Industrial Revolution as
we march towards greater technological
The Last Service Worker
• Service sector is raising productivity and
displacing labor across entire expanse
• The Wall Street Journal warned of service
workers displaced by information tech.
• Innovations making phone industry a key
pace-setter in today’s high-tech economy
• Workers employed in office repair declining
• USPS making dramatic developments
At Your Service
• Service industries coming under domain of
• Global service centers first first to feel
economic aftershocks
• Employers learning to produce more with
fewer workers
• Banking and insurance industries beginning
to make transition to Third Industrial
At Your Service
• Imaging technology, expert systems, and
mobile computing key in re-engineering
• Paperless electronic office goal of business
• Electronic office will eliminate millions of
clerical workers
• Paperless office compared to cashless
• High-tech office equipment bringing fully
automated office closer to reality
The Virtual Office
• Intelligent machines replacing clerical and
management work
• New technology making offices less
relevant as centers of operations
• Telecommuting increases productivity and
reduces space necessary to conduct business
• Firms trying to recapture the flexibility and
human warmth electronic communications
has lacked
Downsizing the Wholesale and
Retail Sectors
• Wholesale and retail sectors being
revolutionized by intelligent machines
• Automated warehousing reduces labor
• Technologies allow continuous-flow
process, lessening need for wholesalers
• Computerized systems and automated
processes reduce retail workers
Downsizing the Wholesale and
Retail Sectors
• Where displaced retail workers will go is
• Creation of jobs in food industry is over
• Information highway lessening need for
entire categories of retail workers
• Electronic transmission of goods
eliminating jobs in warehousing and
transportation industries
Downsizing the Wholesale and
Retail Sectors
• Electronic home shopping taking over retail
• On-line computer services drawing
businesses away from traditional retail
• Steady decline of shopping centers mean
drop in employment in retail sector
Digitizing the Professions,
Education, and Art
• Information technologies will integrate
mental and physical activities
• Intelligent machines invading professional
discipline and encroaching education & arts
– surgery, book writing, music, & digitized image
Digitizing the Professions,
Education, and Art
• Third Industrial Revolution lead to
unemployment of agricultural,
manufacturing, and service sectors
• Technology revamped global economic
• New wave accelerating productivity and
making workers redundant and irrelevant
Digitizing the Professions,
Education, and Art
• Today’s technologies are primitive
compared to what will be
• Parallel computing machines, robots, and
integrated electronic networks subsume
economic process
• This leaves less room for human
participation in making, moving, selling,
and servicing
High-Tech Winners and Losers
• Concept of trickle-down technology not
comforting to unemployed
• Employees feeling frustrated over industries
that abandoned them
• Alcoholism, drug abuse, and crime on the
• Re-engineering revolution paying off--in
1980, US firms posted 92% profit increase
Squeezing the Little Guy
• Benefits of new technologies haven’t
trickled down to the average worker
• By end of ‘80s, 10% of US workforce
unemployed or underemployed
• Only 1/3 of displaced manufacturing
workers able to find jobs in service sector,
then at a 20% pay drop
• Government figures masking true
dimensions of the unfolding job crisis
Squeezing the Little Guy
• US workers forced to settle for dead-end
jobs just to survive
• New part-time jobs found in pink-collar
ghetto, but likely to vanish
• Decline in wages attributable to waning
influence of unions
• Downsizing causing hourly wages to fall
• Lean production meant a fall into nearabject circumstances for many
Squeezing the Little Guy
• Decline of workforce blamed on loss of
manufacturing jobs and globalization
• US corporations drove to weaken organized
labor’s influence to reduce cost of labor
• Worker benefits declined
• Health-care coverage weakened
• Paid days off have declined
The Declining Middle
• Re-engineering affecting corporate
community, threatening middle-class
• Some unemployed give up altogether
• Those finding work accept reduced pay and
job assignments
• Middle-income jobs disappearing
• Declining fortunes of US middle class show
up mainly among college educated
The New Cosmopolitans
• Small number of top executives reap
benefits of technology revolution
• Growing wage gap creating US polarization
• Fading middle class threatening political
stability of the US
• Concerns of conflicts between knowledge
and service workers more pronounced
The New Cosmopolitans
• New elite have no attachment to place
• Have more in common with each other than
country they do business in
• High-tech international workers likely to
retreat from future civic responsibilities
• Will account for over 60% of income earned
in US by 2020
The Other America
• High-tech revolution exacerbate tensions
between rich and poor
• Nation’s poor can’t make ends meet with
low-paying employment, needing
government-assisted relief efforts
• Chronic hunger contributing factor to
escalating health-care costs
• Unemployed vulnerable to illness & disease
The Other America
• Employers finding ways to cut health-care
• With costs of homes rising and wages
falling, many can’t purchase own homes
• Many live in deficient structures or are
• Nation’s poor in rural and inner-cities, the
two regions hardest hit by technology
The Other America
• Escalating poverty blamed on intense global
competition and technology changes
• Urban, rural, and middle class feeling bite
of re-engineering
• Small elite enjoy benefits of high-tech
global economy, enjoying lifestyles
removed from social turmoil
High-Tech Stress
• New technology removes need for control
• Many workers unable to participate in
production process
• Numerical control gives greater control over
decision making and higher profits
• Re-engineering plans increase
management’s ultimate control over
High-Tech Stress
• Merits of new management techniques
being introduced are questionable
• Japanese lean -production practices
described as “management by stress”
• Continually speed up and stress the system
to find weaknesses so new designs can be
implemented to increase performance
High-Tech Stress
• Lean-production sophisticated exploitation
of workers
• When whole system stressed, it is harder to
keep up
• Any glitch is the workers’ fault
• High pace of production increases injury
• In Japan, worker stress under leanproduction reaching near-epidemic
proportions--called karoshi
Biorhythms and Burnout
• Until modern industrial era, bodily and
economic rhythms largely compatible
• Computer culture operates in nanoseconds
• Workers describe fatigue in machine terms
• Increased pace results in unprecedented
stress levels
• Computers monitoring performance causing
high stress levels
Biorhythms and Burnout
• Methods being tested to optimize interface
between employees and their computers
• Workers experiencing mental burnout over
quickened pace of technology
• High-tech economy harming mental and
physical well-being of millions of workers
• Increased stress results in drug and alcohol
Biorhythms and Burnout
• Stress triggers deadly and disabling on the
job accidents
• Increased stress from high-tech work
environments showing up in worker’s
compensation claims
The New Reserve Army
• Re-engineering contributing to workers’
economic insecurity
• US corporations creating new two-tier
employment system
• Contingent work may diminish employee
loyalty, at risk to the business community
• Companies hiring temps to add and delete
workers quickly in response to market
The New Reserve Army
• Part-time workers earn 40% less than fulltime doing comparable work
• Costs being cut by contracting with outside
suppliers; traditionally it was in-house work
• Temps substituting permanent workers in
every sector
• Professionals fastest growing group of
temporary workers
The New Reserve Army
• Federal government replacing full-time
workers with temps
• Temps and outsourcing make up bulk of
today’s workforce
• Drives wages down for full-time workers
• Most Americans feel trapped by leanproduction processes and new automation
A Slow Death
• Americans define themselves in relationship
to their work
• Correlation found between technological
unemployment and depression
• Hard-core unemployed experience
symptoms of pathology like dying
• Common progression of symptoms in the
hard-core unemployed
A Slow Death
• Violence against employers triggered by
downsizing and layoffs
• After a year of unemployment, most turn
their rage inward
• Psychological death followed by actual
death--some choose suicide to escape
• Death of global workforce internalized by
workers experiencing own individual deaths
The Fate of Nations
• Destabilizing effects of Third Industrial
Revolution being felt world wide
• Fierce global competition throwing
Japanese workers into unemployment lines
• One in nine Western European workers
without a job
• Pressures of global competition and new
technology hitting hard in Europe
High-Tech Politics in Europe
• Loss of manufacturing jobs due to
laborsaving technologies and restructuring
• European manufacturing industries moving
towards era of workerless factory
• Service sector no longer providing jobs
• Unemployment exacerbated by drop in
public employment
• Employment opportunities limited to parttime
High-Tech Politics in Europe
• JIT employment results in increased
productivity and decreased gob security
• Social net of EC countries making
companies less competitive in global arena
• European labor 50% more expensive than
US or Japanese labor
• Public spending in Europe than any other
industrialized region of the world
High-Tech Politics in Europe
• Corporate leaders introduced “Eurosclerosis” to describe unnecessary social aid
• Lowering of social net and more displaced
workers increasing European tensions
• More displaced workers living in poverty
with less public aid available
Automating the Third World
• Industrial Revolution quickly spreading to
third world
• Global companies building high-tech
facilities throughout southern hemisphere
• Cheap-third world labor less important in
overall production mix
• Investment in automated technologies to
ensure quick delivery and quality control
Automating the Third World
• Machines replacing workers in every
developing country, creating increased labor
• China restructuring factories to give it
competitive advantage in world markets
• High-tech enclaves raising troubling
questions about high-tech future
Automating the Third World
• Over 1 billion jobs needed to provide
income for all new job entrants worldwide
• Likelihood of fining enough slim
• Clash between rising population and falling
job opportunities will shape geopolitics of
emerging high-tech global economy
A More Dangerous World
• Technology displacement leading to rise in
crime, indicative of troubled times ahead
• Correlation between increase in
unemployment and rise in violent crimes
• Correlation between growing wage
inequality and increased criminal activity
• Technology displacement mostly affecting
youths, spawning new violent subculture
A More Dangerous World
• Loss of hope for better future reason teens
turn to violence and crime
• Youngsters planning own funerals
• Teen criminal activity escalates to rioting
• Illiterate, unemployed gang members
powerful social force
• Teen gangs proliferating in suburbs, as well
as incidences of violent crimes
A More Dangerous World
• Suburban homeowners respond to crime by
stepping up security measures
• Reduced wages, unemployment, and
polarization turning US into outlaw culture
• Few Americans acknowledge relationship
between unemployment and crime
• Unemployed steal back what marketplace
denies them
A Global Problem
• Increased violence worldwide problem
• Caused by workers left behind in transition
to information-based society
• Downsizing has most effect on eliminating
jobs in working class community
• Technological displacement & population
pressure lead to acts of random violence
• Entering into dangerous period of lowintensity conflict
A Global Problem
• Distinction between war and crime will blur
• Armies and police will not be effective and
give way to private security forces
• Third Industrial Revolution throws into
question meaning of progress
• Concept of work at issue
• Value of labor becoming increasingly
A Global Problem
• New approaches to providing income and
purchasing power needed
• Productivity gains from new technology
need to be shared with working people
• Grater focus needed on third sector (nonmarket economy)
• Social economy will address personal needs
and fill the void left by the marketplace and
legislative decrees
Re-engineering the Work Week
• Computer revolution opens door to personal
freedom for first time in history
• Information revolution gives humans
freedom to decide voluntarily own futures
• Transition to time values turning point
• More free time inevitable consequence of
corporate re-engineering
• Work week may reduce to 20 hours to line
labor with new productive capacity
Re-engineering the work Week
• With longer working hours, leisure time has
declined by 1/3
• Technology created unemployed workers
with idle, rather than leisure, time
• Companies prefer to employ smaller
workforce with longer hours
• Cut work hours to accommodate dramatic
rise in productivity
Toward a High-Tech Work Week
• Shorter workweek only viable solution to
technological displacement
• Shorter workweeks mean more employment
• Shorter workweek increases efficiency and
productivity by optimizing use of capital
• Reduce working time to achieve greater
social equity
• More leisure time necessary to stimulate
service economy
Toward a High-Tech Work Week
• Work and leisure issue quality-of-life
• In Japan, shorter workweek answer to future
• Most American CEOs remain steadfastly
opposed to shorter workweek
• Say longer workweek necessary to stay
Workers’ Claims on Productivity
• Workers’ contribution to production viewed
as of lesser nature than capital providers
• Benefits accrued to workers from gains in
productivity viewed as a gift
• Most investors happen to be the workers
• Pension funds largest pool of investment
capital in US economy
• Workers have no say over how their
deferred savings are invested
Modest Proposals
• Management aware gap needs filled
between greater productivity and falling
purchasing power
• Greater pressure to shorten workweek as
equitable means of distributing work
• Shorter workweek should be voluntary
• Measures should be implemented to
discourage overtime, saveing taxpayers’
Modest Proposals
• Getting workweek back to 40 hours would
create 7 million more jobs
• Long-term salvation of work lies in
reducing working hours
• Politicians slow to grasp shorter workweek;
think technological displacement temporary
• Bills introduced in Congress to mandate a
shorter workweek
Modest Proposals
• Shorter workweek saves in unemployment
compensation and welfare payments
• Business leaders fear shorter workweek
drives up their product price
• Government could pay unemployment
comp. in return for shorter workweek
• Companies could be extended tax credit for
shorter workweek and hiring more workers
Modest Proposals
• Mandated profit-sharing allows workers to
directly participate in productivity gains
• Tax deduction for employees working
shorter weeks ease burden on wage earners
• Necessary multilateral agreements with
other nations ensures fair playing field
• Tariff system promotes labor advancement
• Downshifting workweek only choice to
accommodate productivity gains
Trading Work for Leisure
• Americans would trade income for leisure
• Balancing work and leisure serious
parenting issue
• Stress of longer hours hard on women
• Interested groups need to work together to
achieve shorter workweek
• Reduced workweek likely to be used
worldwide by early 21 century
Trading Work For Leisure
• Social ills will heighten in we can’t find
work for the unemployed
• Question of utilization of time looming over
political landscape
• Transition to non-market based society
requires rethinking of current world view
• Redefining role of individual in absence of
mass formal work seminal issue
A New Social Contract
• Shift to machine labor leaves mass worker
without societal function
• Geopolitical role of government lessening
• New international trade agreements transfer
power to corporations, not government
• Role of government as employer of last
resort lessening in importance
• Public establishes communities as a buffer
to forces of market and weak central gov’t.
A New Social Contract
• Shrinking role of market and public sectors
affect working people in two ways:
– those working see shorter workweek and more
– unemployed sink into permanent underclass
• Opportunity exists to harness unused labor
toward constructive tasks outside private
and public sectors
Life Beyond the Marketplace
• Third US sector will reshape social contract
in 21 century
• Volunteer sector replaces market
• Third sector vehicle for vibrant post-market
• Third sector growing twice as fast as both
government and private sectors
Life Beyond the Marketplace
• Third sector mediates between formal
economy and government
• Community service revolutionary
alternative to traditional forms of labor
• Community service a helping action and
entered into willingly
• Social economy measured by the way its
outputs integrate social results with indirect
economic gains
Life Beyond the Marketplace
• Third sector most socially responsible of the
three sectors
• Third sector essential to the flourishing of
the democratic spirit
• Played aggressive role in defining American
way of life
• Voluntary organizations best developed in
the US
An Alternate Vision
• Third sector unites diverse American into
cohesive social identity
• Capacity to join together single defining
characteristic of Americans
• Third sector incubator of new ideas and
forum to air social grievances
• Help preserve traditions and open doors to
new experiences
An Alternate Vision
• Third sector where we experience pleasure
of life and nature
• Market vision glorifies efficiency standards
as chief means of advancing happiness
• Materialist view led to rapacious
consumption of the earth
• Third sector motivated by service and
An Alternate Vision
• New vision based on transformation of
consciousness will take hold
• Importance of formal work will diminish
• Free time used to renew community bonds
and rejuvenate democratic legacy
• New generation will transcend nationalism
• New generation will act as common
members of the human race
Empowering the Third Sector
• Market and public sectors’ relationship to
the masses will change in fundamental ways
• Government faced with incarcerating more
criminals or finding work in the third sector
• Community organizations act as primary
agents for social and political reform
• Third-sector will take up more basic
services in wake of government cutbacks
Empowering the Third Sector
• Globalization will force people to organize
into communities of self-interest
• Self-sustaining local communities only
solution to technological displacement
• Government’s role aligned with interests of
social economy
• Cooperative effort required to revitalize
social economy in every country
A New Role for Government
• Downsizing of government’s role in formal
economy will change nature of politics
• Awareness of need to create relationships
between government and third sector
• Returning government to the people became
convenient euphemism
• Reagan people manipulated third-sector
The Third Sector and Partisan
• Reagan made volunteerism key theme
• Government took away many things once
considered ours to do voluntarily
• Many saw Reagan’s message as call to
renew American spirit
• Bush reminded country that volunteer sector
was spiritual backbone of American
democratic spirit
The Third Sector and Partisan
• Bush introduced Points of Light Initiative
• Americans charged volunteerism attempt to
abdicate government responsibilities
• Many argued volunteer efforts fragmented
attempts to mount political movements
• In the ‘80s, volunteerism reduced to
partisan cause
• Unions feared volunteers would replace
paid work done by public employees
The Third Sector and Partisan
• Liberals’ failure to accept volunteerism
explained by preference for professionals
• Liberals associate third sector with a
patronizing form of elitism
• Liberal criticisms of volunteerism failed to
reflect reality of volunteer efforts
• Volunteer more effective in providing care
services than detached salaried professional
The Third Sector and Partisan
• Volunteers support increased government
• Government needs to play supportive role
in transition to third sector society
• Incentives should encourage those who
have a job in market sector
• Need to provide unemployed meaningful
work in third sector
Shadow Wages for Voluntary
• Greater participation encouraged by
providing tax deduction per hour worked
• Tax deductions encourage greater
• Shadow wages ease transition from formal
employment to community service
• By prioritizing deductions, government
could play role in guiding social economy
A Social Wage for Community
• Social wage alternative to welfare; would
help communities in which labor put to use
• Social income given to skilled workers no
longer needed in marketplace
• Guaranteeing annual income turning point
in history of economic relationships
• Friedman advocated negative income tax
• LBJ established National Commission on
Guaranteed Incomes
A Social Wage for Community
• Western European nations have legislatured
minimum income schemes
• VISTA, NHSC, ect. promote service and
support volunteer efforts worldwide
• State and local governments introducing
programs to assist efforts in third sector
• Economic returns exceed expenditures
• Many looking to government to hire
A Social Wage for Community
• Offer corporations tax credits for hiring
welfare recipients
• Gov’t. focuses on financing public-works
projects and emphasizes third-sector society
• Gov’t. should expand community-service
programs in impoverished communities
• Nonprofit community addresses issues more
effectively than government
A Social Wage for Community
• Government moving toward guaranteeing
income and encouraging community service
• Recipient unable to find job will perform
public-work assignments
• More public jobs could be created by
reducing workweek to 30 hours
• Does every member of society have a right
to benefit from productivity increases?
A Social Wage for Community
• Tying income to service would aid
transition to service-oriented culture
• Defense cuts, elimination of some subsidies,
and paring down of welfare bureaucracy
raise government funds
• Necessary to have new taxes
• VAT on all nonessential goods & services
• VAT encourages saving over spending
Financing the Transition
• VAT places constraints on overconsumption
• VAT would have more positive impact on
• VAT could be placed on high-tech items and
entertainment and recreation industries
• Enact VAT on advertising
• Could increase tax-deductible corporate
contributions to third sector
Financing the Transition
• Transnational companies should be
encouraged to contribute more
• Shadow and social wages lay groundwork
for transition into social economy
• Proposals promoting the social economy
likely to gain support
• Alliance between government and third
sector will build sustainable communities
Globalizing the Social Economy
• Independent sector playing more important
social role around the world
• Interest in third-sector associations
paralleling worldwide spread of democracy
• Civicus’ mission is to cultivate volunteerism
and community service
• Growing influence of third sector most
noticeable in former nations of Soviet bloc
A New Voice for Democracy
• Democratic groups more effective than
resistance groups in toppling the regime
• Third sector becoming wellspring for new
ideas, reforms, and political leadership
• Technological displacement becoming
central to Eastern Europe’s political debate
• If third sector not successful, these countries
may succumb to facism
A New Voice for Democracy
• Third sector emerging in Asia and the
Southern Hemisphere
• Third sector more effective than public or
private sectors in developing nations
• Third sector growing fastest in Asia
• Latin Americans increasing volunteerism
• Africa experiencing rapid growth in thirdsector activity
A New Voice for Democracy
• In the third world, NGOs getting into the
areas the market provides for
• Formal economy irrelevant to most in the
world because they’re so poor
• In third world, third sector sector promotes
private sector on a massive scale
• Gains from market used to finance
expansion of third-sector activity
A New Voice for Democracy
• Third sector emerging to fill gap left by
retreat of private and public sectors
• Governments losing hold over local
• Most money for third-sector initiatives in
developing nations comes from NGOs
• Social economy going to play important
role in labor market in developing countries
A New Voice for Democracy
• Growth in third-sector activity fostering
new international networks
• NGOs faced with many challenges
– rising unemployment
– possible elimination of outdoor farming
• NGOs banning together to fight agricultural
The Last, Best Hope
• Third-sector service answer to rechanneling
growing frustration
• Social economy last best hope for reestablishing alternative framework
• Unlikely that many will be retained for
scarce high-tech jobs in knowledge sector
• Any new products lines probably require far
fewer workers
The Last, Best Hope
• Soaring productivity will face weak demand
as more workers lose purchasing power
• Rising technological unemployment and
declining purchasing power will continue to
plague global economy
• Central governments straining under weight
of technological revolution
• Middle class buffeted by technological
The Last, Best Hope
• Rising polarization create conditions for
grand scale social upheaval
• Concern over the jobs issue has led to
growing ideological battle
• Conservatives argue for laissez-faire
• Unused human labor central reality of
coming era
• Civilization will be destitute if peoples’
talents aren’t used constructively
The Last, Best Hope
• Finding alternative to work critical task
ahead for every nation
• Social economy one realm machines can’t
subsume, so it’s where displaced workers
will find refuge
• Must transfs where displaced workers will
find refuge
• Must transfer productivity gains to third
The Last, Best Hope
• Third sector needs volunteers and operating
• Shadow wages, VAT, and increasing tax
deductions can increase third sector
• Transformed third sector offers only means
for channeling surplus labor cast off by
global market
The Last, Best Hope
• The end of work could spell death sentence
for civilization
• Could also signal beginning of great social
transformation & rebirth of human spirit
• Future is up to us

end of work - Seminar on Current Affairs