Whilst the precarity of labour, zero hours and workplace organising are often discussed, less is said about the morality of work, and the righteousness of the hard-working. Carrots and sticks. I find it pretty dubious, so I decided to write about it, and OpenDemocracy have kindly published it as their Friday essay. Below is an excerpt:
The Department for Work and Pensions may not be the first obvious place one might turn to for moral instruction. But since 2010 under Iain Duncan Smith, it has been behind a ratcheting up of an increasingly moralising campaign against the fecklessly work-shy and benefits scroungers. If such a language is to be believed, the causes of poverty and workplace exploitation are in the individual moral defects of the poor themselves.
Yet whilst a powerful emotive rhetoric of ‘toughness’ and ‘fairness’ has been mobilised as a political trojan horse since the Coalition’s original plans to cut back welfare expenditure, new noises suggest that this campaign may take a sinister step further.
Thanks everyone who came by to Housmans last Wednesday too. It was a full house, and the questions and discussion were great.