December 10, 2009

the right to work

I recently watched Michael Moore's movie Capitalism.  As with all his movies, I was left with a lot to think about.

Featured in the movie was Franklin Roosevelt's speech in January 1944.  In this speech, Roosevelt proposed a second bill of rights, which was never acted upon. It included 'the right to a useful and remunerative job'.

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs includes security of employment as well as security of resources.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (source: Wikipedia)

Thus, Roosevelt's identified right related to a basic human need. And that also explains why the impact of being fired, or laid off, or not having work, is so significant for most human beings. What sense of safety is possible without a useful and remunerative job?

I have seen the impact of the lack of certainty. It wears on one's spirit. This recession has been a difficult time for so many.   And many whom I talk to carry with them an undercurrent of anxiety even if they have apparent security.  A recent Harvard Business Review article spoke to the paralysis gripping organizations, with even those who have not lost their jobs operating at a reduced capacity.

The paper recently proclaimed that the Canadian recession has been officially declared as 'over'.   There have been small trickles of better news, here and there. I look forward to the increasing signs of a recovering economy. In particular, I look forward to the easing of the strain I see. With so much collective energy directed towards survival, there is not much left for transformational projects. And the talent of so many is much better directed towards transformational projects, than survival.

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