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A podcast about faith, work, theology, and economics

May 15, 2018

Episode 15 - The Dream Betrayed, Part III: Theological Perspectives For Addressing Class Realities

In this epsode of Ergasia, we continue our exploration of the book The Dream Betrayed: Religious Challenge of the Working Class by Karen L Bloomquist (Fortress Press, 1990). What are the theological perspectives that have attempted to address the realities of modernity and the dilemma of the working class? Is it even possible for theology to successfuly undertake this project? What are the counterveiling declarations about human life which are made by the idolatrous ideology of modernity?


Bloomquist, Karen L The Dream Betrayed: Religious Challenge of the Working Class. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

April 23, 2018

Ergasia Digest #7 - 23.4.18

In this week's episode: the difficulty of accessing parental leave; artists asked to work for free; the "lost" generation of those born after 1973; the push to criminalise "wage theft"; and the fallout from the Financial Services Royal Commission. What are the theological implications of these realities -how do they speak of our understanding of justice, and of the distortions of "partiality".


Lufkin, Bryan "Dealing With Clients Who Expect You To Work For Free", located at http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180411-dealing-with-clients-who-expect-you-to-work-for-free

Hoffman,  Michael "Japan faces up to the prospect of losing a middle class war", located at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/14/national/media-national/japan-faces-prospect-losing-middle-class-war/#.WtQKOkxuJfw

McCrostie, James "Court cases shine a light on Japan's problem with paternity leave" located at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2018/01/28/issues/court-cases-shine-light-japans-problem-paternity-leave/#.WtQM3UxuJfw

Schneiders, Ben and Millar, Royce "Push to jail employers for up to 10 years for 'wage theft'", located at https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/push-to-jail-employers-for-up-to-10-years-for-wage-theft-20180407-p4z8ap.html

Author Unknown "Banking royal commission revelations 'worse than I thought', says former ACCC boss" located at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-20/banking-royal-commission-allan-fells-accc-reaction/9679182

Carey, Alexis "Financial Services Royal Commission begins public hearings" located at http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/banking/financial-services-royal-commission-begins-public-hearings/news-story/070535cef877ff7c27cc82faf3dc3350

Yaxley, Louise "Malcolm Turnbull conceeds banking royal commission should have been called sooner", located at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-23/banks-royal-commission-shouldve-been-called-sooner-turnbull-says/9686596

March 27, 2018

Episode 14 - The Dream Betrayed, Part II: Religion and the Realities of Class

In this epsode of Ergasia, we continue our exploration of the book The Dream Betrayed: Religious Challenge of the Working Class by Karen L Bloomquist (Fortress Press). What are the ways in which the Church deepens the wounds of classism as they are inflicted by the failed dream of neoliberalism? What does the "religion" of the working class look like, and to what hopes and griefs does it give voice? How does the idol of neoliberalism continue its hold over the working class despite their experience of its frustrations and failures?


Bloomquist, Karen L The Dream Betrayed: Religious Challenge of the Working Class. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

March 18, 2018

Ergasia Digest #6 - 18.3.18

In this edition of Ergasia Digest, we examine ongoing moves in the US to destroy the ability of labour unions to collectively bargain, the consequences of so-called "crypto-colonialism", the state of Australian workplace culture, and what happens when unions and governments support workplace agreements that have potentially negative human rights implications. Through it all, we'll pose the question: whose interest is being served - the network of human digniy Christianity understands as covenantal relationship, or the dehumanising powers of political and institutional prerogative?


Irvine, Jessica, "'Shocking' levels of sexual harassment at work, study reveals", located at https://www.theage.com.au/business/careers/shocking-levels-of-sexual-harassment-at-work-study-reveals-20180305-p4z2wn.html

Yarovaya, Larisa and Lucey, Brian "Should Bitcoin be used to help countries hit by disaster?" located at http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180305-should-bitcoin-be-used-to-help-countries-hit-by-disaster

McNicholas, Celine; Mokhiber, Zane; and von Wilpert, Marni "Janus and fair share fees: The organizations financing the attack on unions’ ability to represent workers" located at http://www.epi.org/publication/janus-and-fair-share-fees-the-organizations-financing-the-attack-on-unions-ability-to-represent-workers/

Hinchliffe, Joe "Victorian government calls for biggest minimum wage boost since 2010" located at https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/victorian-government-calls-for-biggest-minimum-wage-boost-since-2010-20180311-p4z3ui.html

McKenzie, Nick; Tomazin, Farrah; and Baker, Richard "The report the firefighters' union did not want you to see", located at https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/the-report-the-firefighters-union-did-not-want-you-to-see-20180305-p4z2xy.html

Olekains, Mara "How to ask for a pay rise" located at https://theconversation.com/how-to-ask-for-a-pay-rise-797560

March 10, 2018

Ergasia Special Episode No.1 - Work As Worship Retreat: A Conference Review, Part 2

In this second part of the first ever Ergasia Special Episode, your host Brendan Byrne continues his review of the Work As Worship Retreat and concludes with his thoughts on the event as a whole - including the urgent message for the so-called "mainstream church" implicit in this event.

March 10, 2018

Ergasia Special Episode No.1 - Work As Worship Retreat: A Conference Review, Part 1

Announcing the first ever Ergasia Special Episode! A new initiative of the Ergasia podcast, bringing you ocassional interviews, events, and other matters relevant to the interconnection between faith and work that are not covered in either Ergasia or Ergasia Digest.

For this first ever Ergasia Special Episode, your host Brendan Byrne details his recent participation in the Work As Worship retreat, which brought together speakers from the world of church and business.

March 4, 2018

Ergasia Digest #5 - 4.3.18

Welcome to Ergasia Digest #5. In this episode, we examine the effect of the Trump administration's corporate tax cuts, reveal the potential impact of proposed labour reforms in Japan, and note the ongoing efforts by governments in the Asia-Pacific region to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And through it all, ask the question: what do Christ's teachings call Christians to do in response to these developments?


Author Unknown, "Abe apologizes again after 117 flaws found in labor study", located at http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201802230046.html

Author Unknown, "Billionaire reports record quarterly and annual profit for Berkshire Hathaway, in large part due to Congress’s tax code changes", located at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/24/warren-buffett-says-republican-tax-cut-delivered-29bn-to-his-company

Wearden, Graeme and Elliott, Larry "Reforms may threaten recovery and lead to bigger US budget deficit, says Christine Lagarde", located at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/26/imf-chief-warns-trumps-tax-cuts-could-destabilise-global-economy

Author Unknown, "Revised TPP faces obstacles on road to ratification", located at https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Revised-TPP-faces-obstacles-on-road-to-ratification

Author Unknown, "Vatican magazine denounces nuns’ servitude", located at http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004278870

Author Unknown, "Abe to remove controversial plan", located at http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004275653

Author Unknown, "Japanese reporter died after 159 hours of overtime", located at https://tribune.com.pk/story/1524391/japanese-reporter-died-159-hours-overtime/


February 24, 2018

Ergasia Digest #4 - 24.2.18

Welcome to Ergasia Digest #4, the first roundup of news from the world of work, faith, theology, and economics for 2018. This week: what does a theology of work say about ideological blindness, and the responsibility of Christians when confronted by political and social policies that impact on the poor and the powerless in favour of the wealthy and the powerful.


Jones, Janelle and Zipperer, Ben "Unfulfilled promises: Amazon fulfillment centers do not generate broad-based employment growth", located at http://www.epi.org/publication/unfulfilled-promises-amazon-warehouses-do-not-generate-broad-based-employment-growth/

Hultgreen, Anna Kristina "What Call Centres Can Tell Us About Sexism", located at http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180208-the-female-ghetto-of-workplaces

Eslake, Saul "Is Faster Profit Growth Essential For A Pick Up In Wages Growth?", located at https://theconversation.com/is-faster-profit-growth-essential-for-a-pick-up-in-wages-growth-83819

Butler, Sarah "Apocalypse Now For Britain's Retailers As Low Wages and the Web Cause Ruin", located at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/17/uk-retail-industry--gloom-high-street-shift-consumers

Blair, Hunter "The Trump administration’s infrastructure plan remains empty talk and will be paid for by cuts to programs that help working people", located at http://www.epi.org/blog/the-trump-administrations-infrastructure-plan-remains-empty-talk-and-will-be-paid-for-by-cuts-to-programs-that-help-working-people/


February 12, 2018

Episode 13 - The Dream Betrayed, Part I: The Dilemma Of The Working Class

In this episode of Ergasia, we begin an examination of the relationship between the Church and the working class through the book The Dream Betrayed: Religious Challenge of the Working Class by the Lutheran pastor and theologian, Karen L Bloomquist. Bloomquist begins by identifying the central dilemma of the working class in modernity: their betrayal by the neoliberal dream of upward social and economic mobility in return for a lifetime of hard work. But she also begins setting the scene for how the Church often fails to respond to the reality of that dilemma; and how it can develop a theology of incarnational ministry that propetically challenges the prevailing order, instead of merely helping individuals in distress.


Bloomquist, Karen L., The Dream Betrayed: Religious Challenge of the Working Class. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

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