The future of work is unclear. There will be jobs. But what kind? The pandemic drove many to work remotely at home. As the crisis ebbs some will discover that’s the future. Crucial long-term factors affecting workers will be more and more AI, artificial intelligence, and automation. Corporations will be looking to expand in those areas to maximize profits. This is all happening while worker militancy has enjoyed a resurgence. Workers are challenging some of the biggest corporations. There’s been a marked uptick in unionization, organizing, and strikes at such behemoths as Amazon, Starbucks and Apple. Workers, who have seen wages stagnant for decades because of neoliberal economics are demanding higher pay and better benefits. In this changing landscape what will be the future of work?Recorded at the University of Oregon.
Capitalism’s origins, several centuries ago, can be traced to the expropriation of the commons and its transformation into private property. Since those hoary beginnings, it has evolved into an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and its operation for profit. In the last forty years or so capitalism has evolved into its neoliberal phase characterized by deregulation, punishing bubbles, economic crises and jaw-dropping income and wealth inequality. The system’s egregious excesses are sometimes addressed by lawmakers who serve up temporary bromides to placate the restless many. But they are just tinkering around the edges making cosmetic changes. The system is fundamentally the same. There is no alternative we are told. Why isn’t there?
From Seattle to Toronto, the cost of owning a home is soaring. Rents are no better. Accelerated by neoliberal economic doctrine a paradigm shift in housing has occurred in recent years. There is a growing disconnect between housing as a human right and housing as a financial vehicle for investment. We’ve come a long way from FDR’s remarkable 1944 State of the Union address where he advocated for, “The right of every family to a decent home.” Today, housing is viewed by the global investor class as a commodity to be bought and sold in markets, a repository for capital and a means of accumulating wealth. Financialization of housing causes gentrification, undermines community, exacerbates inequality and contributes to the disgrace of homelessness. We need to develop and encourage politics that not only restores housing as a universal human right but to make it affordable as well. Recorded at the University of Colorado.
Sarita Gupta is known for her policy advocacy, organizing, and building partnerships across the workers’ rights and care movements. As vice president of the Ford Foundation, she oversees all U.S. programs. Previously, she served as the executive director of Jobs With Justice and co-director of Caring Across Generations. She is the author of The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century.
Yanis Varoufakis is a member of the Greek parliament. He served as finance minister of Greece in 2015. He is the founder of MeRA25, a progressive Greek political party. He is the author of many books including Adults in the Room and Another Now.
Gillian Tett is an award-winning journalist at The Financial Times where she is chair of the editorial board and U.S. editor-at-large. She is the author of The Silo Effect, Fool’s Gold and Anthro-Vision.
Leilani Farha is the special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. She was the executive director of Canada Without Poverty, an NGO based in Ottawa. A human rights lawyer by training, she has worked all over the world on the implementation of economic and social rights.