A social economy approach therefore asks why people are engaged in specific enterprises. Are they simply out to make the most money they can? Many people do. Or do they see themselves as providing an essential service their community is missing? Are they providing employment for otherwise disadvantaged groups? Do they simply take pride in producing artistic or high-quality goods and the only money they need is enough to cover their living expenses?
A while ago I read something on Twitter that got me thinking. The tweet read something along the lines of: “What kind of sci-fi dystopia are we living in where robots taking all our jobs is considered a problem?” A slightly more positive spin on this is: “The problem isn't that robots are taking over our jobs, the problem is that we've created a world where that's somehow a bad thing.” These feel like somewhat glib responses to increasingly complex questions about inequality and automation; however, what they actually ask are fundamental questions about what we value and how we structure society. In essence: “Why should we work?”
Yesterday, I started an email to my supervisor with the opener “I am wearing shoes today and it seems to make me more productive. How’s it going in your kitchen-office?”