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New Forms and Meanings of Work in an Increasingly Globalized World

Опубликовано на портале: 11-12-2007
Geneva: International Labor Organization, 2004, 85 с.

The Sixth Nobel Peace Prize Social Policy Lectures were given in Tokyo from 1 to 3 December 2003. Professor Ronald Dore, Associate Researcher at the London School of Economics delivered the series, which was organized in collaboration with Tokyo University and the ILO Office in Japan. The theme of the lectures was "New Forms and Meanings of Work in an Increasingly Globalized World". Ronald Dore, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Foreign Fellow of both the Japanese Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is renowned for his pioneering work, analysing the transformation of labour markets in Japan and other industrial societies.

The lectures focused on the evolution of work and relations at work with special reference to industrial societies. They were delivered in four separate sessions, and dealt with the following themes: (i) The pains and rewards of work in the twenty-first century; (ii) The concrete meanings of labour flexibility; (iii) The direction of social change and (iv) Global markets and national employment systems.

Drawing on his academic contributions, spread over several decades, Dore discussed a range of analytically important issues concerning the course and the consequences of globalization within and across countries of the world. These issues included productivity growth, changes in working time, the transformation of workers’ interests into rights, the rise of individualism and metamorphosis of the bread-winner model, the division and fragmentation of the job-for-life model, the rising capital content of labour, flexibility as a tool for improving labour efficiency, the polarization of the workforce and the rise of income inequalities, the changing fortunes of the managerial class, the dilemma of reconciling social justice with meritocracy, competing models of capitalism, and the prospects for securing social justice in the face of rising inequalities.

The lectures drew attention to a perceived trend in industrial societies towards a rising tolerance of inequalities. Globalization has always been associated with the rise of “market individualism” and a polarization of the workforce. As the pace of globalization has accelerated in recent years, the outcome has been rising inequality within labour markets. Quite significantly, this is accompanied by a rising tolerance of inequality, notably among the industrialized economies. The lecturer discussed whether this trend could be reversed through national economic and social policies. Even in an era of globalized markets, each country can still initiate a range of independent policy choices; the reach and effectiveness of these choices, however, tend to be circumscribed by the economic and cultural hegemony of industrially advanced economies.


Lecture 1. The pains and rewards of work in the twenty-first century.........................1

 Various Utopias...............................................3

The agenda ....................................................6

Work intensification ........................................7

The shift in priorities: Managers .....................10

Shift in priorities: Governments ......................13

Competition intensified..................................15

The multiple forms of job satisfaction .............18

Social usefulness ..........................................20

Justice and the reward system: Software engineers and office cleaners............22

Lecture 2. The concrete meanings of labour market flexibility ..........................24

Productive efficiency .....................................24

Speed of adjustment .....................................25

Two kinds of flexibility: Two kinds of efficiency ..................................27

Core and periphery ........................................28

Contrasting mindsets.....................................30

Why all the emphasis on market mobility? .......31

The end of jobs for life? .................................34

And inequality ..............................................35

Technological sophistication and learning ability .......................................37

Lecture 3. The direction of social change ...............40

Norms of fairness: The power dimension .........42

Norms of fairness: The ethical dimension ........43

The mid-century consensus............................45

The new consensus .......................................46

Whence the change? .....................................48

Deeper roots: Ideological and political .............50

Deeper roots: History, family, school, affluence, migration and demography..............52

A possible change of heart?............................55

A basic income?............................................57

Lecture 4. Global markets and national employment systems ...............................60

Imposing standards .......................................61

The cosmopolitan élite...................................64

Fear, sympathy and solidarity .........................65

Cultural hegemony ........................................66

Ideologies and markets ..................................68

Possibilities for the future ..............................70

The diversities of capitalism ...........................71

Final words: Final questions ...........................73


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