Like it or not, we place a value on the work we do. Depending on our perception, this might be the notion of finding fulfilment through the work one does (extolled alike by managers and those of a more creative bent), the search for work that ‘makes a difference’, or the more mundane but essential: working for a wage.
Ironically, some of the most important work is, if not entirely unrecognized, grossly undervalued. This is the care work still done mainly by women, without which society would cease to function and the wheels of business would hit the buffers.
But it’s monetized work that is seen as sink or swim. Not being able to access it is a source of great desperation, especially when social provision is weak or non-existent.
This edition’s Big Story inspects how workers the world over are being squeezed. There is no shortage of ideas that envisage a future where we reorganize society in such a way that work becomes at most a part-time adjunct in a world of shared plenty. We look at a some of those. But in the short-term, the challenges are age-old – struggles for greater autonomy, dignity and fairness.
In other sections of the magazine, we meet Ghana’s 13-year-old DJ Switch, an incredible campaigner for children’s rights. And in Temperature Check we offer some handy suggestions for what you can do to get the right messages to world leaders attending the COP26 climate talks.
Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Campaigners have long argued that a transition to renewable energy could provide a jobs bonanza. Now politicians are talking that talk – but many workers in the fossil-fuel industry believe it’s a con. Conrad Landin picks through the rhetoric with offshore workers in Scotland.
The stratagems of big corporate players and a compliant government will make the job of growing food not worth doing for Indian smallholders. Farming is not just an occupation but a way of life – and the fightback is robust. Navsharan Singh outlines just what is at stake.
When it comes to the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade and ongoing support of fossil fuels, what would be the cost of financial reparations? Through exploring the history of a prominent player in the insurance marketplace, Sahar Shah and Harpreet Kaur Paul have an idea of where to start.
A newly formed citizen’s grouping – Global Assembly – wants a snapshot of humanity to air its views directly to policymakers at this year’s UN climate conference. Amy Hall speaks to one of its organizers, Susan Nakyung Lee, about the limits and potential of democracy.