Does work give our lives purpose, meaning and status? Or is it a tedious necessity that will soon be abolished by automation, leaving humans free to enjoy a life of leisure and basic income?
In this erudite and highly readable book, Jon Cruddas MP argues that it is imperative that the Left rejects the siren call of technological determinism and roots it politics firmly in the workplace. Drawing from his experience of his own Dagenham and Rainham constituency, he examines the history of Marxist and social democratic thinking about work in order to critique the fatalism of both Blairism and radical left techno-utopianism, which, he contends, have more in common than either would like to admit. He argues that, especially in the context of COVID-19, socialists must embrace an ethical socialist politics based on the dignity and agency of the labour interest.
This timely book is a brilliant intervention in the highly contentious debate on the future of work, as well as an ambitious account of how the left must rediscover its animating purpose or risk irrelevance.