What’s happening to work?

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How are the concepts of jobs and work changing or being redefined? What kinds of work does our current economic system support and not support?

Over the decades I’ve often wondered why so much important work isn’t supported, or isn’t supported well, by the economic and political world we live in, like making art or poetry, caring for children and aging adults, protecting the environment, or pulling people together to talk, work, solve problems, or celebrate together. My curiosity probably began when I realized that much of my work seemed to fall outside the mainstream economy. Also I’ve lived among artists and have come to believe they’re among the most resourceful people around in the way they put their economic lives together. But they’re certainly not alone. Since last fall, I’ve collaborated with Edward Wolcher and Town Hall Seattle on a conversation series about the changing nature of work, jumpstarted by ideas from speakers on Town Hall’s stages. The conversations have involved people whose work falls in many worlds.

My own inquiry and curiosity about it continue. There’s so much about work to be said, learned, discussed, and debated – about how it’s changing, what its future will be, how our assumptions may have to change, and what we can do.

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