On today’s video, I give a lengthy summary and discussion of the argument of John Hughes’ stimulating book, The End of Work: Theological Critiques of Capitalism.
If you have any questions for me, please leave them on my Curious Cat account. If you have found these videos helpful, please tell your friends. If you would like to support my continued production of them, you can do so on my Patreon account. You can also get the audio of these videos on Soundcloud or iTunes.
Many thanks indeed, Alastair, for a most thought provoking and helpful reflection. It is rare to hear anything from a Christian perspective on something which absorbs so much of our waking hours and energy. For most of us, work is the way we keep ourselves and our families alive as well as providing a purposeful focus for our existence. During the times that I been unemployed, the absence of work and anxiety about the future was most unsettling. Even for retired people like me, our state and occupational pensions are in effect deferred wages. And the essential work of other people keeps me alive.
So there is much more scope for theological reflection on how people should have “good” work. Much work for the foreseeable future will still involve drudgery, yet be viewed as a way of perfecting ourselves and serving others.
From the title “The End of Work”, I first guessed that the book might be concerned with advanced automation abolishing work for a large section of the population. This possibility has excited much secular discussion on policies such as a Universal Basic Income to underpin periods of total, permanent or part time unemployment. But the truely Christian use of mass leisure would have to be the topic for a separate podcast.
The relative lack of close Christian reflection upon work is indeed surprising and concerning.
A podcast on UBI would be interesting and is actually an idea that has been floated for Mere Fidelity in the past. Work is and will be changing rapidly in the decades to come; it is high time that Christians gave it careful thought.