15. Nov, 2017

Text

http://www.metamute.org/…/your-posts/brief-history-jobcentre#

"This blind glorification of work skews our perspective of its use, purpose and social value (or lack thereof, depending on the work). 'John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this’. Given this, what justification can there be for an institution that exists solely to funnel people into carrying out labour with little or no social value? Work should be fulfilling, and where it can't be, it should be – and emphatically can be – reduced to a minimum. Why does the automation of jobs and industries lead to unemployment rather than simply a reduction in working hours (without reducing the wage)?

Because, under capitalism, increases in efficiency (e.g. the introduction of new technologies) translate into either an increase in total output or a reduction of the amount spent on wages. Both of these result in higher profits for shareholders. In a world after capitalism, where social well being and ecological sustainability are society's main goals, increased efficiency would mean maintaining total output and wages, while also reducing working hours."

The Jobcentre has not always existed. A glib statement, yes, but one that is always worth reasserting when discussing such a ubiquitous institution (see 'the state', 'the nation', borders and numerous other seemingly transcendental and timeless, yet
metamute.org