Insecure Work - Let's make it a thing of the past

Posted by Mike Kaaks

15 October 2020

Which could we do without for longer, rubbish collection or the stock market? I’m sure that the answer is the stock market and that if rubbish collection was turned off for a month we would demand that in line with our new found use of the ADF it be deployed instantly to empty our bins. Someone more informed than I made the same observation about the stock market recently so it is with apologies that I make the observation without referencing that source. I just can’t recall where it was.

For clarity let me say this is not a piece setting out to debate the use of soldiers to collect our rubbish. It is about how we undervalue many of the essential roles in our society whilst at the same time over rewarding roles that make no real difference to our existence. Roles that don’t add productively to the economy. Roles that in the words of the founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund John C Bogle, just lessen the total of the investment pool. Covid 19 has highlighted this inequity in our society. We are constantly seeing that it is the jobs being done by working people that we most rely upon. And yet we don’t recognise that importance in the employment conditions applied to that work. So many of these jobs are insecure. The phrase insecure work aptly describes a whole range of jobs where were once covered by appropriate protections and rewards, much of which has been stripped away in the last quarter of a century. It is a phrase that perfectly pulls this issue into focus.

We seem to have returned to a feudal system where the lords of the manner hold all the assets and deal out meagre scraps to the serfs who are doing the work that sustains those lords. The heart of this is the issue is not economics, not industrial relations, it is about of how we value each other, how we value our fellow human beings.

There are at least three ways out there to deal with this; Universal Basic Income (UBI), the MMT Public Jobs guarantee, or equitable employment laws. Let’s have a government that will act to create and sustain a more equitable society in which we all get to share the wealth of our nation and our planet.

After Covid