Podcast episode 15: Work- what is it good for? A conversation with Nick Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University

podcts whit text psdI sought out Nick Smith for this conversation because of my interest in the future of work. Nick has recently co-authored a book entitled The Return of Work in Critical Theory

According to the blurb,

“The book presents a bold new account of the human significance of work and the human costs of contemporary forms of work organization. A collaboration among experts in philosophy, social theory, and clinical psychology, it brings together empirical research with incisive analysis of the political stakes of contemporary work. The Return of Work in Critical Theory begins by looking in detail at the ways in which work today fails to meet our expectations. It is a lucid diagnosis of the malaise and pathologies of contemporary work and proposes powerful remedies.”

Nick was previously the Director of Macquarie University’s Centre for Research in Social Inclusion from 2003 to 2007 and was Head of the Department of Philosophy from 2008 to 2012.
Nick’s main interest lies in debates in social philosophy concerned with the diagnosis of modern social pathologies. These investigations have also led him to an area of enquiry that could be called the hermeneutics of work: that is -the interpretation of work as a meaningful, self-formative activity.
Sound a bit dry?
Not in the least. Nick and I had a lively conversation that explored some vital questions.
Why is work more stressful, and increasingly robbed of meaning beyond an economic transaction. Why does there seem to be more bureaucracy and more bullying? Why is casualisation on the rise?
Will increasing automation be a blessing or a disaster?
Is a universal basic income a potentially good policy or another symptom of the malaise.

And of course we speculate on what work in a utopian world might look like.

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One Response to Podcast episode 15: Work- what is it good for? A conversation with Nick Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University

  1. Lynne Boardman says:

    Very interesting discussion about work and how this has changed in the past few years. It is not a subject most people analyse however, it is worth reflecting on as it is easy to tell through a career what jobs were enjoyable and what were not and why? Also the people encountered along the way.

    I like the podcasts as I reflect and learn which is good. Thank you.

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