Why GoodWork is the answer...

We have a Malware Consumer Economy… and ethical consumption is not the answer…Good Work is….

Consumption and creation/production are of course two halves of the same coin. The thesis presented here is that we are currently using consumption to “patch the pain” and the deficit of meaning and humanity generated at work. We are stuck in a vicious cycle of bad work & consumption. This is not cycle that can broken by offering new ethical consumption — but by changing the nature of work inorder to allow us to value a new modality of consumption.

Hypothesis : There is nothing wrong with the idea of a consumer economy, we just happen to have grown a malware version of it.

We have perhaps unconsciously and without intention built a consumer economy largely grown to patch and fill the losses of empowerment and purpose generated at our places of work and our management of work and of course our civic society [Perhaps the reason why productivity has stalled?].

This is a cycle, in which we backfill a deficit of purpose, empowerment and personal agency through what we consume and how we consume it — (we buy intangibles — call them “legal high — from sugar to fashion) to fill those holes and thereby drive our production economy to produce those “legal highs”.

By implication, we citizens, end up buying goods to fix our sense of loss of being and missing purpose and power as opposed to grow us a civilisation.

Shifting this vicious cycle requires us to attack the problem tangentially — not just rely on building good sustainable, ethical products for the 1% and hope that this will infect the rest of the market— we need to shift the purposefully — economy of work where work becomes meaningful and the provider of meaning in people’s life and thereby naturally redirect consumption and thereby what we produce. This is a future where we consume to advance our humanity not just patch the pain.

Now imagine an alternative economy of work & an alternative Civic Society built on the principles of democratised empowerment, agency, innovation, and purpose [see Matthew Taylor on The Power to Create — YouTube] ; in this alternative world – where we have these core human needs fullfilled at work and in our civic participation – what would we motivated to consume, and thereby innovate and make and produce?

Just maybe, in this alternative economy we would become focused not on consuming items to articulate our social status, nor addicted to the “sugar highs” of buying experiences and over comsumption – but instead we would become focused on buying, consuming items which would extend our fundamental humanity – physical, social, environmental. Genuniely regearing our consumer economy to take us all to the Stars…

Imagine this consumer economy.

So the hypothesis is what is wrong with our consumer economy will not fixed by taxes, penalties or regulation but by fixing out economy of work and our participation ini society to realise all our humanity. We need a new economy of work design not to optimise us as bad automatons and algorithms. [Credit to Charlie Leadbetter and Dan Hill for evoking this last Phrase..]

This is a future that we can build by creating “good” work — and the rest follows and naturally re-corrects..

The natural following question is what is Good Work and what does it comprise off..

  1. Payee – Work which pays both a combination of a fair wage for you to thrive and grow as an human being along with a fair share of the wealth and value created.
  2. Innovate – Work which empowers you to openly and collaboratively innovate to deliver against the outcomes to which you are responsible for.
  3. Communities for outcomes – Work which encourages you to build, participate in open communities of people thriving to deliver shared outcomes as opposed to line management.
  4. Voice – Work which gives you the freedom of speech to be both proud and a critical friend of the teams you work in. So no disclaimer :this twitter account does not represent the views of xyz”.
  5. Purpose – Doing work which genuinely contributes to a humanity and its development in an economy of care, love and relationships — leaving the world of tranactions and efficiency to the world of robots and algorithms.
Indy Johar