For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Fear and hope in an age of mass automation: debating the future of work"

by Spencer, David A (2018)


Alternative perspectives from economics and political economy now agree that work is set to disappear through the impact of mass automation. Some worry about the negative effects on unemployment and inequality, while others see the opportunity to extend free time. This paper confronts and criticises these perspectives. It addresses previous visions of an automated (‘workless’) future presented by Marx and Keynes and shows the enduring barriers to working less in capitalist society. It then questions whether work will be reduced by technological progress; rather, it argues that work will likely persist, despite and indeed because of the wider use of new technology. The threat to workers from technology is seen to come more from the erosion in the quality of work than from the loss of work. The paper argues that a better future for work and workers ultimately depends on broader changes in ownership.


No Keywords


End of Work, Employment, Automation

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