A paper prepared for the Thought Matters Conference in Brisbane on 24-26 August 2018 by Alan Johnson, Social Policy Analyst fpr the Social Policy & Parliamentary Unit.
De-industrialisation occurred in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s around the same time as newly elected neo-liberal governments embarked on a programme which involved the liberalisation of the economy, the de-regulation of the finance sector and the privatisation of state assets and functions. The result of these changes has been the re-emergence of poverty as a permanent feature of our social landscape alongside the financialisation of the economy and rising indebtedness.
But the political economy of work is changing again. With emergent technologies around artificial intelligence, robotics and cognitive computing there is a significant risk of rising unemployment and with this the dislocation and alienation which often attends this.
This paper is an attempt to build an new, and somewhat alternative ‘theology of work’ which might provide a moral basis for influencing or at least interpreting these changes.