Reclaiming Work: Beyond the Wage-based Society

Reclaiming Work: Beyond the Wage-based Society
Reclaiming Work: Beyond the Wage-based Society by Andre Gorz

Over the last twenty-five years, Western societies have beenreversing into the future. They are able neither to reproduce themselves in accordance with past norms, nor to exploit theunprecedented freedom offered by the savings in working time whichnew technology has generated. In this major new book, Andre Gorz argues that the societies created by Fordism have been fallingapart and have given way to "non-societies", in which a tinydominant stratum has grabbed most of the surplus wealth. In theabsence of any alternative political project, social disintegrationand individual despair have prevailed.

Mainstream economists seek solutions to this "crisis", but Gorzargues that we are in fact in the grip of a new system which isabolishing work as we know it. The worst forms of exploitation arebeing restored, as each is forced to fight against all (both at theindividual and the national level) in a desperate struggle toobtain the diminishing supply of work.

In the face of these developments, Gorz argues that we should fightnot against the destruction of work itself (in the sense of stableemployment), but against the new system's efforts to perpetuate theideology of work as a source of rights. We should welcome thereduction in the working hours required to meet our material needsand should realize the creative potential that this reduction couldrelease. Through measures such as a sufficient unconditional basicincome for all and new, co-operative economic structures, we canreclaim work and rebuild a future beyond the wage-basedsociety.

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