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A podcast about faith, work, theology, and economics

January 5, 2018

A New Year’s Message From Ergasia

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has supported Ergasia and Ergasia Digest in 2017, and to wish everyone a safe, happy, and blessed 2018.

Secondly, this is just a quick note to let you know this podcast will be going into a brief hiatus over January 2018. No, I am not going away on holidays, nor am I experiencing "technical difficulties". Rather, my family and I are about to undertake that fun adventure known as "moving house".

In practical terms, this means the next couple of weeks will be taken up with all the non-stop excitement of packing boxes, discovering all the stuff from the last move which was never unpacked and now needs to be moved again, as well as the unbridled joy of dealing with utility companies as I arrange for the transfer of phone, internet, and power supplies from our old residence to our new.

So I am afraid that both Ergasia and Ergasia Digest are going to be off the air for a short time. But don't worry, I plan to be back in the saddle by late January or early February (a timeline probably highly dependent on the state of my sanity and whether or not I can connect to the WWW again) and bringing more reflections, news, and ponderances from the world of faith, work, theology, and economics.

Once again, thanks for your support, and Happy 2018 to you all!

Brendan Byrne
Content Creator, Producer, Host
Ergasia and Ergasia Digest

December 24, 2017

Ergasia Digest #3 - 24.12.17

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Welcome to Ergasia Digest #3, a roundup of the news from the world of faith, work, economics and theology. This week: what happens when corporations and unions, or corporations and governments, conspire to promote their own self-interest instead of the interest of the wider community; and how does adherence to economic ideology and political expediency impact the poorest and most vulnerable workers in the community?

References

Schneiders, Ben and Millar, Royce “Secret Woolworths deal with Shoppies union cuts wages”. Located at http://www.theage.com.au/national/investigations/secret-woolworths-deal-with-shoppies-union-cuts-wages-20171216-h05t1p.html

Pegg, David “Paradise Papers prompt criminal complaint against Glencore”. Located at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/21/paradise-papers-prompt-criminal-complaint-against-glencore

Shierholz, Heidi; Cooper, David; and Wolfe, Julia “Employers would pocket $5.8 billion of workers’ tips under Trump administration’s proposed ‘tip stealing’ rule”. Located at http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-would-pocket-workers-tips-under-trump-administrations-proposed-tip-stealing-rule/

Jones, Janelle “18 states will increase their minimum wages on January 1, benefitting 4.5 million workers” http://www.epi.org/publication/18-states-will-increase-their-minimum-wages-on-january-1-benefitting-4-5-million-workers/

Author Unknown, “Loss of EU trade benefits could cost Cambodia $700m annually” Located at https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Loss-of-EU-trade-benefits-could-cost-Cambodia-700m-annually

December 21, 2017

Ergasia Digest #2 - 21.12.17

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Welcome to Ergasia Digest #2, a roundup of the news from the world of faith, work, economics and theology. This week: the initial impacts of cutting penalty rates on employment opportunity and economic activity; the correlation (if any) between employment vacancies, employment rates, and wages growth; and productivity, human health, and hours of work.

References

 

Bagshaw, Erik “Penalty rate cut fails to stimulate jobs, survey shows”. Located at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/penalty-rate-cut-fails-to-stimulate-jobs-survey-shows-20171213-h04csj.html

Elliott, Larry “Fall in employment rate spells end of UK jobs boom”. Locate at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/13/fall-in-employment-rate-spells-end-of-uk-jobs-boom

Ferguson, Adele and Danckert, Sarah “'Don't speak out': franchise giant RFG warns against complaining publicly”. Located at http://www.theage.com.au/business/retail/dont-speak-out-franchise-giant-rfg-warns-against-complaining-publicly-20171209-h01y1i.html

Hutchens, Gareth “Penalty rate cuts followed by weakest consumer spending since 2008”. Located at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/12/penalty-rate-cuts-followed-by-weakest-consumer-spending-since-2008

Ruggeri, Amanda “The compelling case for working a lot less”. Located at http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20171204-the-compelling-case-for-working-a-lot-less

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.