How will we define ourselves in a ‘post-jobs’ society?

By Leah Eichler

The Globe and Mail

With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions.

On a personal level, they may include dieting and exercising, but professionally many of us set goals to work harder and achieve more, believing the extra work and obligations will make us better people.

But what if they don’t?

Politicians and pundits often talk about employment as the ultimate solution to a variety of social problems, but we are already close to full employment. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has said a U.S. unemployment rate of between 4 per cent and 6.4 per cent constitutes full employment. Currently, the rate in the United States stands at 4.7 per cent and in Canada at 6.9 per cent. Rather than focus on creating more jobs, we need to recognize the correlation between income and work may no longer make any sense.

It’s a fascinating theory presented in a book called No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea by James Livingston, who is a professor of history at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

He suggests there simply isn’t enough work to go around that allows for a living wage. 

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