It has been 70 years since the inception of the 1946 Full Employment Act, designed to reassure veterans that they would have good jobs upon returning from service. Unemployment figures have not changed since and people are out of work longer between jobs. Combine this with growing wage gaps and we have a major institutional and planning problem for the type of economy we support, especially Canada’s reliance on oil exports.
Jobs are also becoming deskilled. Division of labour separated a trade into component parts which improved efficiency but deskilled a workforce, creating more dependence on factories. Humans themselves are becoming automated.
- November 2016 reported an unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent
- Gender pay gap is more than twice the global average in Canada
Society has seemingly becoming ‘less fair’ as top income earners are taking home more of the wealth. The social contract between employee and employee seems to be broken.
Income inequality in Canada has remained steady since 1998 according to the traditional benchmark, but absolute dollar gains by the country’s highest earners have far outstripped the gains by those at the bottom, a report by TD Bank said in December 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/11/income-inequality-canada-td-bank_n_2277462.html
As struggle to keep up with the Joneses marches on, technology has allowed for work-life integration. People work on the subway and in the buses, using smart phones, sending emails and texts, taking calls and lunch while in their vehicles. It seems a bit too hectic for some as others are rejecting this imposition and disregard for the slow life. Like fast food we need slow food.
I like these four types of work-life balance denoting the two spheres interacting (Nam, 2017):
I think that we are using technology to hasten our incomes because we bought into the struggle. Perhaps it is time to declare independence from the ‘rat-race’ and obsessive consumption and job concern. We are forgetting what we have forgotten – how to live and how to live properly.
Without time to examine a life well lived, stress has introduced disease, anger, frustration, meltdown of family units, and isolation of our elders, young and our poor. Statisfaction and awareness seem to be the nemisis of a hurried life under the new tech-rule.
Humans should not toil like the machines we build to do so, instead, we can increase our capacity to reflect, pursue higher order thinking and virtues, exchange culture and provide solace and comfort for each other – what machines cannot.
Here is a good article and quote from ‘The Rise of Bullshit Jobs’:
“…Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.”
-Taewoo Nam, Technology Use and Work-Life Balance, Applied Research Quality Life (2014) 9:1017–1040