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A podcast about faith, work, theology, and economics

December 9, 2017

Ergasia Digest #1 - 9.12.17

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Welcome to Ergasia Digest #1 - a weekly round-up of news from the world of faith, work, theology, and economics. This is a new initiative of the Ergasia podcast, bringing real news stories into contact with theological reflection, posing questions from the perspective of a Christian theology of work.

 

References

Martin, Peter  "Big firms including News Corp, Exxon and Chevron paid no tax in 2016, Tax Office says". Located at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/big-firms-including-news-corp-exxon-and-chevron-paid-no-tax-in-2016-tax-office-says-20171208-h01kxq.html 

Kaine, Sarah and Josserand, Emmanuel "Amazon's track record may signal a change in Australian industrial relations". Located at https://theconversation.com/amazons-track-record-may-signal-a-change-in-australian-industrial-relations-88146 

Partington, Richard "Gig economy workers in UK risk missing out on £22,000 of pension." Located at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/07/gig-economy-workers-uk-missing-out-22200-status-workplace-pension

Butler, Sarah "Sports Direct and its staffing agencies paid workers £1m too little". Located at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/08/sports-direct-and-its-staffing-agencies-paid-workers-1m-too-little

Kawase, Tomoshizu "Japan's taxman tightens scrutiny on wealthy". Located at https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Japan-s-taxman-tightens-scrutiny-on-wealthy

 

December 4, 2017

Episode 12 - Dead Man Working, Part V: A (Further) Theological Reflection

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In this episode of Ergasia, we conclude our exploration of Dead Man Working by Carl Cederstrom and Peter Fleming (Zero Books, 2012). Does Cederstrom and Fleming's idea of the child as the helpless but ultimate subversive of the zombie apocalypse of post-industrial capitalism have merit? What is the response of a Christian theology of work to this idea? What do either suggest about how humanity can liberate its essence - and the essence of human work - from the clutches of an oppressive and controlling paradigm?

References

Cederstrom, Carl and Fleming, Peter Dead Man Working. Alresford: Zero Books, 2012.

 

September 2, 2017

Episode 11 - Dead Man Working, Part IV: A Theological Reflection

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In this episode, the host of Ergasia, Brendan Byrne, offers a theological reflection on the book Dead Man Working by Carl Cederstrom and Peter Fleming (Zero Books, 2012).  In particular, he focuses on Cederstrom and Fleming's characterisation of the world of post-industrial work as a "land of the living dead", one in which human life has been appropriated in the interests of an oppressive and self-sustaining system; and views their analysis through the lens of the Christian understanding of work's role and meaning in human life, and Jesus' own critique of secular and religious powers that exist absent the human need they are meant to serve.

References

Cederstrom, Carl and Fleming, Peter Dead Man Working. Alresford: Zero Books, 2012

Sedlacek, Tomas The Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011

Quiggan, John Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us. Revised Updated Edition. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2012

August 22, 2017

Episode 10 - Dead Man Working, Part III: Exit Strategies

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In this episode, we conclude our exploration of the book Dead Man Working by Carl Cederstrom and Peter Fleming (Zero Books, 2012) with an examination of the ways and means that people use to escape the life-consuming tyranny of corporatised labour - strategies that range from the absurd to the futile to the tragic.

CONTENT ADVISORY/WARNING: This episode includes a discussion of death - specifically suicide - as a response to the traumas of work.  If listening to this discussion will cause problematic thoughts and feelings, please either skip that part of this episode, or skip this episode altogether. Australian listeners requiring support should contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. International listeners should contact a qualified medical practitioner or counselling service in their area.

References

Cederstrom, Carl and Fleming, Peter Dead Man Working. Alresford: Zero Books, 2012

 

August 8, 2017

Episode 9 - Dead Man Working, Part II: The Girlfriend Effect

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In this episode, we continue our exploration of some of the secular critiques of corporatised work as articulated in the book Dead Man Working by Carl Cederstrom and Peter Fleming. In particular, we examine the emergence of "emotional labour" and the phenomenon of the "girlfriend effect" to which it has given rise: the phoney reality of work-as-life that consumes the whole of our humanity, creating a fake identity which we can no longer distinguish from who we really are.

References

Cederstrom, Carl and Fleming, Peter, Dead Man Working. Alresford; Zero Books, 2012. 

July 29, 2017

Episode 8 - Dead Man Working, Part I: The World of the Living Dead

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In this episode, we begin a new series exploring some contemporary critiques of work based on the book Dead Man Working by Carl Cederstrom and Peter Fleming. Cederstrom and Fleming describe the world of corporatised work as the "land of the living dead" in which the motifs and symbols of resistance to work - as well as biopower, the key characteristic of our humanity - have been co-opted by corporatism to trap humans in an endless regime of pointless and unfulfilling labour.

References

Cederstrom, Carl, and Fleming, Peter, Dead Man Working.  Alresford; Zero Books, 2012. 

June 28, 2017

Episode 7 - What Is Work? Part V

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In this episode, we conclude our investigation of the question What Is Work? by reviewing the theologians whose work we've been examining in the last three episodes, by drawing some conclusions of our own, and proposing what a Christian definition of work might look like.

June 16, 2017

Episode 6 - What Is Work? Part IV

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In this episode, we continue our exploration of the question What Is Work? by examing the argument for the "threefold nature of work" set out by the theologian Darrell Cosden in his book A Theology of Work. What does Cosden's conception of the "ontological character" of work tell us about work itself, and how does it relate to the views of work articulated by Volf and Jensen?

References

Cosden, Darrell A Theology of Work: Work and the New Creation. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2004.

May 28, 2017

Episode 5 - What Is Work? Part III

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In this episode, we continue our exploration of the question What Is Work? by examining the concept of work as "obligation", as proposed by the theologian David H Jensen in his book Responsive Labor. We unpack Jensen's conception of obligation, examine its similarities and departures from Volf's understanding of work as instrumental activity, and analyse whether it progresses our understanding of work's nature and place in human life.

References

Jensen, David H Responsive Labour: A Theology of Work. Louisville & London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006

May 19, 2017

Episode 4 - What Is Work? Part II

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In this episode, we continue our exploration of the question What Is Work? by examining the definition of work articulated by the theologian Miroslav Volf in his book Work In The Spirit. We'll examine the characteristics which Volf assigns to work, and debate the extent to which Volf' definition does - or does not - further our understanding of what work is.

 

References

Volf, Miroslav Work In The Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001