24 July 2009 | Draft
In Quest of a Job vs Engendering Employment
Escaping economic disempowerment through enabling metaphors
- / -
Dismal failure of economics and economists
Unfreezing categories and category innovation
Job seekers -- in quest of jobs
Re-enchantment of work in the 21st century
Reframing employment opportunities through richer metaphors
-- Career development
Learning metaphoric skills of relevance to employment
Periodic table of employment / engagement
Engendering employment through interactive social networking
-- Current social networking
job seeking and group formation
-- Enabling self-organization
| Group evolution and emergence
Future of engagement and employment
Learning from "swine flu":
viral marketing, viral engagement, viral employment?
In memory of a little boy with a stock of six
matches, individually for sale, on the pavement
on the occasion of a congress of the World
Futures Studies Federation (Cairo, 1978).
The current worldwide economic crisis, following the financial crisis of 2008,
is making it increasingly evident that "jobs" as currently defined
may become a "scarce resource" in society, even a "non-renewable
resource". This would
make the challenge "jobs" represent for the future to be of a similar
nature to that of other resources -- such as land, water, food, energy, and
the like. This was argued by Jeremy
End of Work: the decline of the global labor force and the dawn of the post-market
Worldwide unemployment at the end of 2009 is estimated by the ILO to
range between 210 million and 230 million people (Global
Employment Trends). The global youth population is at a historical
high of more than 1.5 billion, with some 89 percent of these
living in developing countries. Many are unable to secure decent
work, as youth are on average three times as likely to be unemployed as adults.
In the last ten years, the world's youth population grew by 10.5 percent while
youth employment only grew by 0.2 percent (Global
Youth Enterprise Conference, Washington DC, 2009). The seasonally adjusted
unemployment rate in the European Union in March 2009 was 8.3% compared
to 6.7% in March 2008.
The question here is whether there are other ways of thinking about "jobs"
which would help to reframe that challenge. The exploration follows from
a presentation to a workshop of the World
Academy of Art and Science (Re-enchantment
of Work: Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Its Off to Work We Go: Engagement in the 21st Century,
1996). It also follows from more recent concern with the general problem of
lost opportunities resulting from dependence on "frozen" categories,
as in the case of "job"
the Global Future by Ignoring Alternatives: unfreezing categories as a vital
necessity, 2009) and from earlier concern framing the challenge as
one of "switching" from "being unemployed" to "being employed" (Recontextualizing
Social Problems through Metaphor: transcending the "switch" metaphor,
Dismal failure of economics and economists
The Economist devoted its main editorial What
Went Wrong with Economics: and how the discipline should change to avoid the
mistakes of the past (16 July 2009). This introduced two special briefing
sections on the State of Economics (The
other-worldly philosophers and Financial
Economics: efficiency and beyond). The issue was necessarily focused
on the role of economists in relation to the financial crisis. It is appropriate
to ask, however, in the light of the quality of blinkered thinking that contributed
to that crisis, whether such thinking is not contributing to other difficulties
over which economics claims special expertise.
Most striking are the optimistic assumptions constructed around the plateauing
of population growth in the light of economic models of the constraining effects
of development over the decades to come. This models may be as faulty as those
which permitted the financial crisis to be so poorly anticipated. Additionally
current implications of continuing population growth make it evident that
there may be major challenges for the social security safety net to handle
an ageing population -- irrespective of possible impatience of younger generations
with any fiscal obligations to pay for errors of the past, made with the informed
complicity of economists.
On a much simpler level is the well-documented issue of the challenge to economics
of homeworkers and whether their activity could be defined as "work",
namely whether those working in non-salaried situations should be understood
"employed". Such blinkered construction of categories is equally
evident in relation to the "black economy" or the "informal
economy" -- and presumably
to problematic category of indentured labour, whether or not it blurs into
slavery. Whatever the legality of the situation, some criminals are obliged
to "work" very hard to achieve their ends -- as with terrorist groups
and freedom fighters. They may also then "work" in prison -- if successfully
convicted. Such considerations -- as with any "voluntary" work are
beyond the scope of economics.
It is from this unchallenged perspective that the employment crisis and the
challenge of job creation is typically envisaged by government. The approach
is further distorted by manipulation of official statistics to conflate those
who can only "work" a few days a week with those who are "fully employed" --
as a means of disguising the level of "unemployment".
Unfreezing categories and category innovation
It is curious that a discipline that has come to acknowledge the importance
of "research and development" and the value of "innovation" has
proven to be most reluctant to apply such considerations to its own practices.
The notably exception is of course the "creative accounting" developed
by corporations, as exemplified by the Enron
scandal. Another exception would of course be
the "creativity" in development of new financial packages which were
a prime cause of the financial crisis of 2008.
But when it comes to innovation with respect to the notion of a "job",
economics has trailed behind innovation by those who have created new styles
and patterns of "work". This is perhaps best exemplified by the open
source movement in the case of software development. The Grameen
be interpreted as another example. The extent of voluntary work, and the dependence
of some societies (such as the Netherlands) on networks of voluntary workers,
offers another example. However such innovation is recognized reluctantly,
if at all, by both economics and the governments who rely on their conventional
In the current economic crisis, with dramatic increases in unemployment,
notably among the most disadvantaged and potentially alienated, those seeking
to engage with the economic system are confronted by a category seemingly written
in stone -- a "job". The rigidity of the category is of course reinforced
by myriad pieces of legislation by which it is unalterably defined.
It is within
that rigid framework, or through it, that people are expected to "find a job".
Governments may recognize the challenge to some degree and either "create jobs"
through public investment or by obliging corporations to do so under particular
Where is there any thinking on how to reframe the nature of a "job"?
Discussion of the possibility was well-launched by Jeremy
Rifkin (The End
of Work: the decline of the global labor force and the dawn of the post-market
era, 1995). He notably suggests the need to move beyond the delusion
of retraining for nonexistent jobs and to prepare for a world
that is phasing out mass employment in the production and marketing of goods
and services. He sees this as requiring a redefinition of the role of the
individual in a workless society with a need for fresh alternatives to the
formal work so well recognized by economists.
Rifkin's argument, given the "death of jobs", might even justify interpreting
the title of this paper in terms of "Inquest" rather than "In Quest".
Job seekers -- in quest of jobs
There is a huge irony that the very language of "obtaining" or "getting" a
job is now confused with mythology.
The unemployed become job "seekers" on an almost mystical quest.
to be found acquires the mystique of the pursuit of the Holy Grail -- even
with echoes of the problematic dynamics and mystification dramatized in The
Da Vinci Code (2003).
Those enabling such pursuit and facilitating access acquire the aura of gatekeeper
guardians on The Way. Acquisition of the job, now involves passing "tests" reminiscent
of legendary tales -- possibly complete with ancient patterns of
trickery. These may necessitate unwelcome compromise -- marrying the ugly daughter
of the boss, "couch" obligations, etc. As in centuries past, jobs
may be acquired by paying an appropriate "commission".
What corporate entity would have difficulty in finding a job for someone who
offered an appropriate "commission"?
But, to the extent that there are indeed parallels to legendary tales, the
question is whether such tales do not themselves have more flexibility in reframing
the "quest" and the nature of the goal of that quest -- the "job".
And possibly even the "seeker". For indeed such tales point to the
manner in which the frustrations of the search oblige the "seekers" to
redefine their sense of identity, as implied by Rifkin.
is it that is seeking a "job"? What are the learnings to be found
on the "quest"?
Economics has nothing to say about such matters, despite its mumblings about
Most curious is the phenomenon resulting from loss of jobs by executives,
even senior executives. The curiosity is the creation of executive job clubs.
There is for example an Executive
Job Club Network which seeks to assist experienced managers who want to
remain economically active, often following redundancy (Katharine Hansen, For
Networking and Support, Join or Start a Job Club). They
notably focus on job search presentations.
The question might be asked as to
the nature of the expertise of executives disempowering them from creating
their own businesses, especially with the complementary expertise gathered
together in such contexts. Is it a question of the creativity with which a
group of such people might select and combine their expertise to produce a
viable set of jobs? Is this not also true of those who are supposedly not executive
material? Why the "hunt" elsewhere for jobs? (cf Job
Clubs, Networking, and Job Search Support by State).
Why the apparent
lack of attention to engendering employment? How is it that the development
of this skill is not fundamental to the curriculum of any MBA programme --
as the prime qualification for title of Master of the Universe (The
End of the Masters of the Universe? Washington
Post, 10 August 2008?; Wall Street's Masters of the
Universe are dethroned, Times Online, 1 October 2008). Or
is it the nature of such programmes to disenable such entrepreneurship in favour
of the quest for leaders who can supply jobs for them? Is the focus indeed
primarily on "business adminsistration"? Where
then are the Masters of Employment Creation -- or is their absence
due to the lack of complementary "Mistresses" to enable such engendering? (cf "Mistresses
of the Universe"? 2009; Why
Mistresses of the Universe Can't Wait, Women's
Voices for Change, February 2009).
Is it "MECs" that are needed rather than "MBAs"? The new MBA
"Responsible Value Creation" indeed makes no mention of employment creation
to repair previous MBA-instigated damage (A
Hippocratic Oath for Managers: forswearing greed, The
Economist, 4 June 2009; New
Chapter of MBAs take oath to do better, Financial
Times, 29 June 2009).
Again it is the discipline of economics that has contributed most significantly
to what amounts to the commodification of jobs and the notion of a job market
-- obscuring the wider implications of employment and how it is engendered,
whether for monetary remuneration or not. Understandably it is through the
discipline of anthropology that the commodification of jobs has been recognized
(Laurent Bazin and Monique Selim, Ethnography,
Culture and Globalization: anthropological approaches to the market,
Critique of Anthropology, 2006).
The question here is how to "unfreeze" the category "job".
Rather than being written in stone, suppose it was a much more fluid category
-- especially given the implications of labour "mobility". Given
such metaphors, typically
"stones" do not move -- despite the exception of "rolling stones".
"job" look like through other metaphors -- even more "fluid",
"gaseous" -- even "ionized"?
One interesting way of approaching this is the following phase
diagram of a substance such as water [more].
This is a representation of the states of matter (solid, liquid, or gas)
as a function of temperature and pressure. Lines separating the regions of
space indicate the pressures and temperatures where phases can coexist and
are in equilibrium with one another. Lines in the phase diagram may intersect
at a point where solid, liquid, and gas all coexist -- a unique "triple point".
Similarly a "critical point" may exist that is characterized by large fluctuations
between the liquid and vapor states. Such diagrams are also used in describing
the conditions of plasma -- understood as an ionized gas [more].
Plasma is however characterized by much higher temperatures and pressures.
A highly simplified diagram of that type is adapted below to show the variety
of relationships between the different forms of "job" -- especially indicating
that the transition from "conventional" to "creativity-based"
not necessarily pass via "flexible" jobs.
It suggests possibilities for resolving definitional ambiguities associated
with any assumed linear progression between them..As the extreme ionization
of gas, plasma is not directly represented in the diagram (it would be far
to the right). The diagram does however suggest possibilities of exploring
the ionization metaphor in relation to knowledge -- and the corresponding implication
of the bonds in the case of solids, liquids and non-ionized gases. The adaptation
calls for a metaphoric equivalent to temperature and pressure -- which are
both commonly used metaphorically in insight-related processes (eg "feeling
the heat", "under
|Tentative adaptation of general
phase diagram (for water)
to suggest non-linear relationship between
"conventional" -- "flexible" -- "knowledge" jobs
The axes of Pressure and Temperature suggest interpretation in the
in which they are commonly used in working contexts: High/Low Pressure, Heated/Cool
The conventional focus is necessarily on the "solid" jobs on the left of the
diagram. However many people are obliged by the "pressure" and "heat" of circumstances
to function in other kinds of mode necessarily invisible to economics. The
challenge might be to develop a recognition of the range of "jobs" which people
in the real world are obliged, or prefer, to take up for their survival or
thrival. These are the jobs that do not figure in the International
Standard Classification of
Potentially more interesting is why economists have such a deep investment
in not exploring such a broader notion of employment, preferring simply to
allocate any form of activity that does not correspond to the conventional
categories to the category of "unemployed" -- as with "homeworkers".
In a society increasingly confronted with the challenge of how society is
ensuring the integration into society of the "unemployed",
this calls for a fresh look at what might be understood by "meaningful
It is potentially devastating to consider that economics may have defined "jobs"
is a manner similar to the definition of "cash
crops" -- and for similar reasons.
As widely noted, "cash crops" are not necessarily the most sustainable
form of agriculture for a community. The same might be said of "cash jobs".
Such approaches tend to design out the externalities most significant to quality
of life, whether for the wealthy or the impoverished.
It may be readily assumed that one of the primary reasons for avoiding a more
creative, flexible approach to understanding the nature of employment is in
order to avoid disrupting the many legacy systems dependent on conventional
categories -- at all cost and irrespective of the sufferings of those framed
as "unemployed", if not "unemployable"..
Re-enchantment of work in the 21st century
As noted above, this exploration follows from
an earlier exercise (Re-enchantment
of Work: Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Its Off to Work We Go: Engagement in the 21st Century,
1996). This endeavoured to provide a more systemic reframing of the variety of
understandings or biases regarding work, further developed separately (Engagement:
14 Contrasting Concepts of Meaningful Employment, 1996; Sustainable
Development: a system of 14 complementary concepts, 1994).
These exercises were accompanied by another (Being
Employed by the Future: reframing the immediate challenge of sustainable
community, 1996) which considered the following
lifestyles and meaningful employment, namely the nature of the match
between "meaningful" and sustainable" in a wider spectrum of understandings
traps and excluded options, including the question of whether it is
actually impossible to be "unemployed" and what that understanding might
imply for the current challenge to affirm identity through "employment"
community through social experiment, namely the possibility of facility
alternative approaches to employment through social experiments without
prejudging their results and the future ingenuity of those who may choose
to undertake them. This noted the mistake of assuming that results
deemed unsatisfactory by one group would not be considered highly satisfactory
by another. The sustainability of community may be evaluated as differently
by individuals as it is by plant or animal species variously adapted to
arid or temperate ecosystems. The range of monastic communities or kibbutzim
illustrate the point.
It is noteworthy that governments have over the past decades experimented
a means of boosting manufacturing and trade, whilst avoiding the inhibiting
effects of taxation, import/export duties and bureaucratic form-filling.
There has been a clear economic argument in favour of this initiative.
There is surely a strong case for equivalent free zones in which social
experiments can take place, free of the various constraints which normally
inhibit them and render it impossible to create exceptions.
- Job creation
versus Job location, namely the question of why it is that
so little emphasis is placed on enabling people to create employment for
is directed towards enabling people to "find a job" which it is naively
supposed should be available once an appropriate qualification has been
achieved. What are the skills required to create a job? Where are those
skills to be acquired? Especially dubious is the failure to enable people,
notably graduates, to use their skills to work together to create new enterprises.
In the UK, for example, why are people not offered a "job creation allowance" rather
than being rewarded for having found one of the few jobs available -- thus
depriving others of that job?
for monetary employment, namely the many possibilities
for effective monetary substitution amongst informal groups. It is even
useful to consider the proliferation of voluntary organizations in this
light. They can be seen as providing arenas for non-monetarized exchanges
between individuals which compensate for the aridity of the economic paradigm.
To the extent that individuals choose to devote more personal "energy" to
such activities, at the expense of their paid employment, such substitution
can be considered as taking place, at least partially.
the vital interface? namely the extent to which Engagement
is essentially about "psychic income" --
which is only in some cases directly commensurate with monetary income. Perhaps
the fruitful approach is to think of the economic rationalist as being correct
about work in the same way as Newtonian mechanics is correct within an Einsteinian
relativistic framework -- as a limit condition only. Perhaps it might also
be fruitful to think of sustainable engagement as being vulnerable to various
form of catastrophic misunderstanding -- possibly even modelled by the 7 basic
catastrophes from catastrophe theory.
It is time to consider the organization of society in terms of other dimensions
that might offer more people more opportunities. Rather than vainly endeavouring
to "create new jobs", this would mean recognizing "existing forms of engagement" which
already contribute to vital aspects of sustainability that are not measured
by GNP. Voluntary association activity is one of them, as noted by Rifkin.
The issue is how the old lady, sitting alone for hours in a village square,
can be appreciated and rewarded by the community -- as she may be in an idyllic
Italian village! They key question is in what way is she "employed"?
Is there a case for recognizing that the fact that a person is alive
constitutes a form of employment. As an interpretation of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, a person has the right to be considered as being employed
of the Rights of Human Organization, 1971). Whether
employed and productive in economic terms in relation to a monetarized
society, is another matter. How society can benefit and engage with the billions
of people that it is producing is also another matter.
Reframing employment opportunities through richer metaphors
There have been a variety of studies on the value of metaphors in fruitfully
reframing work, employment and careers. These are in various ways relevant,
or not, to the concern underlying the challenge expressed as "finding
and "unemployment". More generally these studies are partly inspired
by the pioneering studies of Gareth Morgan (Images of Organization,
new mindsets for seeing, organizing and managing, 1997). He distinguished
a set of eight classical images of organization: machine, organism, brain,
culture, political system, psychic prison, flux and transformation, and instrument
of domination. These necessarily strongly imply different understandings of
the nature of work within each.
Following from the much-cited study of George
Lakoff and Mark
We Live By, 1980), the comment of a blogger
to the effect that in a work situation, it may be more a question of the "metaphors
we serve" (What,
oh what, will become of us? Metaphors We Serve, 13 July 2009). A
context appropriate to the challenge of unemployment, as defined by economists,
is provided by Donald N. McCloskey (Metaphors
Economists Live By, Social
Career development: Perhaps the most articulate response
to this has been in terms of career development. In the present economic environment,
and that expected for the future, this is of course increasingly irrelevant
to the increasingly large numbers of people who have not yet "got
a job" and
are still "searching" for such an opportunity. Key studies are those
of Kerr Inkson and Norman Amundsen, whether independently or in collaboration.
Thus Kerr Inkson and Norman E. Amundson (Career
metaphors and their application in theory and counseling practice, Journal
of Employment Counseling,
2002) explore the benefits and the
dangers of metaphorical thinking and advocates the use of "multiple metaphor" as
a means of understanding careers. They look particularly at metaphors
in the context of new, more flexible careers. Of relevance here, they introduce
a set of "archetypal career metaphors" (see also Kerr Inkson, Images
of career: nine
key metaphors, Journal of Vocational Behavior. 2004; Understanding
Careers: the metaphors of working lives, 2006). They
consider how career counseling practice can be assisted through the facilitation
of metaphorical thinking.
As helpfully summarized by Norman Amundson (Mold,
Mould, Mole-d: the three M’s of career development,
University of British Columbia, 2007), the metaphors identified by Inkson (2004)
as having “the
potential to express much of the current wisdom about careers” are:
- Legacy – career as inheritance
- Craft – career as construction
- Seasons – career as cycle
- Matching – career as fit
- Path – career as journey
- Network – career as encounters and relationships
- Theater – career as role
- Economic – career as resource
- Narrative – career as story
To which Amundson has since added metaphors that he considers to be consistent
with social and economic changes and with some of the emerging theory and practices
in the career development field (Amundson, 2005):
- Anomaly – career as irregular and unique
- Calling – career as a strong inner urge or prompting (a spiritual direction)
- Chaos – career as confusion and uncertainty
- Lifestyle – career as wellness and balance
- Garden – career as an organic process
This disparate set of 14 could be usefully related to the earlier systemic
14 Contrasting Concepts of Meaningful Employment, 1996; Sustainable
Development: a system of 14 complementary concepts, 1994).
An insightfully provocative approach to metaphors is that of David Fairchild
Career Metaphors Guaranteed to Destroy Your Church. 12 September
2006) who comments on a set quite independent of those identified above:
traffic cops, seismologists, umpires, taxidermists, stenographers, town
criers, morticians, curators, astronomers, synchronized swimming coaches.
This focus on "church" acquires even greater relevance to the condition of
the "unemployed" to the extent that it is applied personally -- to oneself
as a "church". This is in the spirit of the classical insight that the "body
is the temple of the spirit", as variously acknowledged (1Corinthians
6:19-20; Acts 17: 24; Stanley Pranin, The
Body is the Temple of the Spirit, Aikido
Journal, #112, 1997).
It is within "career development" that the arguments have been developed
for the necessary flexibility -- "unfreezing" highlighted above.
The problem of course is that they have been developed for what is effectively
a "buyers market", namely one in which those in employment are free
to seek employment in a labour market rich in employment opportunities. This
is not the current reality, except for the privileged few. Nevertheless the
arguments offer valuable insights.
For example, Amundson (Mold,
Mould, Mole-d: the three M’s of career development, 2007)
metaphors open up the possibility of acquiring new insights by
In choosing a metaphoric lens for this
process I started with the concept of breaking down rigidity and embracing
a more flexible and uncertain process. To capture this shift metaphorically
I focused on “breaking the mold”. From this beginning
I started to also think about mould, the way in which we can become stagnant
and incapable through lack of action. And finally the thought of moles
tunneling through the ground came to mind. Moles have very limited eye
sight and really lack vision – thus the need to keep popping up all
over the place. So this is the metaphoric structure that I would like to
Work: The focus on "careers" is necessarily an aspect of
the more general focus on metaphors of "work", whether within a conventional
organization or not. Examples include:
A study by Johanna Auranen (Tervanjuontia
ja ruusuilla tanssia - metaforatutkimus kasvatustyöstä kuntaorganisaation
osana, University of Joensuu) focuses on educational
work as part of a municipal organization. It analyzes the metaphors used by
the staff as creations of organizational meanings in relation to their own
work, working environment, on-the-job learning as well as to the city as an
employer. It notably looks at the "metaphoric scenery"
of educational work in comparison with other domains
Peter A. Creticos (Discovering
New Metaphors for Work and its Relation to the People Who Perform It,
March 2007) focuses on the challenge in relation to work in general:
Our problem is that our current metaphors are inadequate to meet today’s
challenges. The range of metaphors used to describe our understanding of
people and work is fixed and is largely unchanged over the course of several
decades. Consequently, the resulting policies and programs are largely variations
of an established set of basic designs that also are unchanged from the original
frameworks established many decades ago. Borrowing a metaphor from the software
industry, today’s programs and policies in training and education are
much like versions 1.1, 1.2, etc., and less like versions 1.0, 2.0, etc....
I believe that we need new metaphors to expand and improve our understanding
of people who perform work and to develop and implement programs and policies
that are consistent with this new understanding.
With respect to his software metaphor, the argument of Roland Kaschek and
Alexei Tretiakov (Enabling
Metaphor Evolution for Improving Systems' Usability, Journal
of Digital Information Management, 2006) is relevant. Creticos then
draws attention to the possibility of experimenting with the metaphors of other
It is possible that in addition to the worlds of business and finance, there
are metaphors from other disciplines such as physics, cosmology, the theater,
music, and religion that may offer new insights and solutions in the area
of workforce development. But, in order to achieve new understandings, we
must be willing to open our minds, be able to describe and apply other models
to work and labor, and to assess the results against a set of desired outcomes.
Nora Spinks (Choosing
the Right Metaphor to Ensure Work-Life Quality for All, WFC
Resources, February 2006) focuses on the choice of metaphor to encompass
both "work" and "life" (irrespective of an unfortunate implication of her
argument that "work" is "life-free" and "life" is "work-free"). She indicates:
If we want to change behaviors, we need to first change mind-sets; to change
mind-sets we need to change the mental images; to change mental images we
need to change the metaphors we use in the work-life field.
An early exploration of such issues explored non-verbal structural metaphors
(Organization and Lifestyle Design: characteristics of
a nonverbal structural language, 1978).
Employment (jobs): Although the manner
in which employment may be framed by metaphor is implied in its consideration
with respect to "career" and to "work", there would seem to be relatively little
insight into how employment itself is to be understood by the individual, especially
one who is currently unemployed or, like thousands of graduates
(if not millions), seeking to "enter the labour market". There seems to be
little on metaphor and occupation for example, although it might be assumed
that the many occupations might indeed be fruitfully distinguished by the metaphors
which people are conventionally called upon to "serve", if not to "live by".
On the other hand, there is much more on the metaphoric sense of unemployment.
In this respect it is interesting to note the study of Carolyn Straehle, et
as Metaphor in European Union Discourses on Unemployment, Discourse & Society,
10, 1999) showing how
unemployment is constructed both as a `problem'
and a `fight' and how these formulations can be viewed as closely connected
under an overarching metaphor of `struggle'. The authors show how the struggle
metaphor in EU discourses of unemployment serve various legitimizing functions
in political discourse, and the connection between
discourses on unemployment and the prevailing EU economic philosophy.
Cliff Goddard (The
Ethnopragmatics and Semantics of ‘Active Metaphors’. Journal
of Pragmatics, 2004) notably explores the implications of using the metaphor
of unemployment as
a contagious disease -- an assertion
made by Neil Kinnock at a time when he was leader of the British Labor Party:
What exactly did he mean? .... The idea seems to be that
if some people cannot get jobs something happens (presumably, a general reduction
in productive economic activity) which has a snowballing effect, so that
other people would not be able get jobs either.
With the levels of unemployment in the UK in June 2009 at their highest since
1995, it must then be assumed that the policies of the Labour Party effectively
engendered a form of pandemic. Such a pandemic could then be seen as indifferent
to national boundaries (US
unemployment rate soars to 26-year high, The
4 July 2009).
In contrast to such a focus, which evokes the need for therapeutic measures
(possibly by social security systems), there is the question of what metaphors
an individual can use to empower themselves in new ways in response to being
framed as "unemployed" -- beyond concerns with career development and the like.
Learning metaphoric skills of relevance to employment
There do not appear to be studies focusing fruitfully in metaphoric terms,
on the tragic experience of many who cannot "find" any "employment".
As noted above, the assumption is that
"jobs" are there to be found -- or, for the optimistic, may eventually
be created by institutional strategies. However, if it is assumed that everybody
is by definition "employed" in some way -- irrespective of whether
they are conventionally remunerated -- then some studies concerned with how
"jobs" (with the aid of metaphoric reframing) are then of interest.
This implies that "career" encompasses
the many forms of "employment" which are not conventionally considered
as such -- and which would not necessarily appear on a CV. "Career" is
then broadened to include "life path" and "life long learning".
Any sense of identity and self-esteem is then not directly dependent on the
status of remunerated positions and the respect they may engender.
It may indeed be a recognizing and enriching one's metaphoric environment
-- from which may then emerge new insights into more conventional employment
Your Metaphoric Habitat, 1992). Various authors address related possibilities
of use of metaphor to facilitate transition:
The programme of Training Attention (The
Metaphors@Work 5 stage process, 2008) enables people to develop skills
in metaphorical thinking through five stages:
- Stage 1: The preparation work introduces participants to self-reflection
and engages their interest prior to training, which increases motivation
to learn. It gives people time to generate and being to develop metaphoric
- Stage 2: This stage results in participants engaging in the uniqueness
of their models and making sense of the specific behaviours that are inherent
in their values and beliefs.
- Stage 3: Sharing and Negotiating between the individual metaphoric models
. In this stage individuals ask each other clarification questions about
each other's models. .... They can then make sense of their reactions to
those behaviours in relation to their own metaphors.
- Stage 4: Participants negotiate a shared metaphor, for a specific outcome,
i.e. perfect team, project, merger, which supports each to operate at their
best and to which each can fully commit.
- Stage 5: Using the shared metaphor as the basis for communication, the
group now begin to discuss the real issues and tasks involved in the team,
project, or merger and begin allocating resources and roles to each other.
The speed and ease with which they do this will be markedly different from
the ways in which they have worked before.
What are the conceptual skills vital to survival in a social system that is
liable to be increasingly chaotic? Do they combine some of the skills associated
with survival training, "streetwise", radical entrepreneurship, and the like?
What is the basic "cognitive toolkit" necessary for the future if the
3 R's cannot be effectively delivered -- especially where they are only of
relatively marginal utility? How
should such a toolkit be disseminated -- perhaps by analogy with first aid
kits and emergency kits? It is here that the role of sets of folk tales and
teaching stories merits attention -- notably as a means of communicating more
powerful metaphors that point to new modes of action, as argued separately
Engagement with Afghanistan, Caucasus and Iran: an unexplored strategic opportunity?,
As noted by Rifkin, an important aspect of the challenge is redefining the
role of the individual in a near workless society -- understood as likely
to be the single most pressing issue in the decades to come. Care is required
in exploring this framing because much of the challenge is liable to be not
so much how the individual in defined by society but rather the options that
the individual explores in engaging personally in such definition. The definition
of others may be irrelevant if it is primarily through the individual's ability
to adjust creatively to emerging circumstances that personal survival and
thrival can be ensured.
In pointing to the "third sector", otherwise known as the "voluntary sector",
Rifkin is implicitly pointing to the need for the person to rely on other
forms of "income" -- well-recognized by those in that sector as "psychic income",
namely non-monetary "remuneration". More needs to be understood about how this
functions and the extent to which it can replace the need for monetary tokens
-- especially when these may be absent. Are their different "psychic currencies"
in which payment may be welcomed? Aspects of such issues are explored in the
context of experimental Local Exchange
Trading Systems (LETS).
More intriguing is the range of ways in which any such payment may be made.
Gardening offers an example in which a high degree of satisfaction may be derived
independently of any capacity to sell, barter or otherwise engage with others
-- and yet to ensure one's own personal survival through consuming the products
of such efforts.
This points to the range of ways in which "self-employment" might be rethought
by the individual, irrespective of the legitimacy accorded to this process
by external authorities. To employ some extant categories, it is possible that
"self-employment" might be variously understood by those who favour them
- ego "employed" by the id
- personality "employed" by the soul
- soul "employed" by the spirit
Intriguingly these evoke, as suggestive metaphors, the categories and processes
of the "trading" well-known to economics. These are of course themselves
subject to fruitful reframing through metaphor (Ruth Barrons Roosevelt,
Metaphors for Trading).
The question is then how to understand, given any such reframing of
identity, with whom who is "trading" in such a context of self-employment.
Periodic table of employment / engagement
Engagement with the world: In any effort to broaden the scope of understanding
of "employment" as a mode of "engagement" with the world, there is a case for
interweaving the following aspects:
- conventional work, as framed by remunerated occupations
- equivalent "work" in voluntary associations
- craft activities that may, or may not be remunerated
- leisure activities, which may be experienced as "work" (such as "gardening",
or "fixing the shed")
- relationships recognized to require "work" in order to be sustainable (as
acknowledged in the case of marriage)
- personal development "work" and "working on oneself" (whether
"working out", or as in G.I.
- psychological extremes such as those of meditation, notably
with respect to reframing the engagement with the world
Self-employment: Many of these may open new understandings of "self-employment"
as suggested above. As a philosophical and meditative challenge, who indeed
is employing whom in a more fundamental sense? Also of interest from a temporal
perspective is the extent to which:
Reframing conventional occupations: On the assumption that emergent insight
and the future will give rise to new framings, especially when radical innovation
is required by chaotic times, the question is where framings of sufficient
subtlety, variety and complexity are to be found. One approach is to seek a
transformation of a conventionally-nested laundry-list of occupations, such
as the International
Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO). How might it be fruitfully
Avoiding premature closure, steps might include:
- conversion of any (nested) list into a table or matrix
- adjusting the relationship between the cells such that they fall into a
systemically significant pattern, as argued elsewhere (Functional
Classification in an Integrative Matrix of Human Preoccupations,
- benefitting from the insights into the patterning of the Periodic
Table of Chemical Elements, such that the pattern
reflects both styles of occupation ("groups") and the challenge to learning
and/or experience ("periods") -- a richer and more comprehensive articulation
of a global "curriculum"
- consideration of alternative representations of such a tabular form, notably
in three and more dimensions to enable more integrative comprehension
- consideration of the metaphors facilitating the learning experience associated
with each stage (cell) in any such progression, such that the pattern as
a whole is a pattern of metaphors with which people may variously engage
(as with any valued sets of traditional folktales)
Insights from mathematics: An interesting equivalent is offered by the possibility
of a "periodic table of mathematics", given that the vast amount of "work"
done on mathematics (voluntarily or under contract) is currently organized
simplistically as a nested checklist. This offers the possibility of being
reordered by similar steps, especially since many of the mathematical disciplines
so ordered are relevant to any understanding of more integrative representations
of relationships, as discussed separately (Towards
a Periodic Table of Ways of Knowing -- in the light of metaphors of mathematics,
Of particular interest is that current mathematical understandings of such
representation are increasingly obliged to take account of quantum mechanical
perspectives with all that they imply for reframing what might be understood
to be an "element" and how it engages with other elements (Denis H. Rouvray
et al. The
Mathematics of the Periodic Table,
It is such insight which could prove beneficial to any process of reframing
understanding of a "job" (as a form of employment) and how it engages with
other modes of employment.
Non-linear learning: The reasonably well-known "periodicity" of the elements
is notably useful in highlighting the non-linear (or non-mechanical) progression
in learning relevant to employment and engagement with the world -- as typically
recognized under the inchoate category of "experience" (see also Periodic
Pattern of Human Knowing: implication of the Periodic Table as metaphor of
elementary order, 2009), namely:
- a distinction between what might be termed relatively superficial "comprehension"
in contrast with a more fundamental sense of "understanding" (as represented
by completion of "inner" electron shells),
- richer implications for possible senses of identity in a complex society,
as discussed separately (Possible
cognitive implications , 2009)
- a reframing of the yearning for "fulfillment" (whose potential
and possibility is variously sensed), given the metaphoric associations with
"completion" of electron shells
- the possibility that features of any such periodicity would help to clarify
the psychodynamics of the employment/engagement ecosystem
- given contrasting notions
of "positive" and "negative" amongst the elements, are there richer understandings
of the relationship between "buyer" and "seller" in such "trading" (perhaps
modelled in its most fundamental form by that between the alkali
metal and halogen
- given the insubstantial subtlety of what is now recognized (notably by
the financial community) as so fundamental to any engagement with another,
namely confidence or trust, to what extent is this better represented by
the subtleties of a quantum perspective rather than by conventional mechanistic
focus on "bonds"?
- given the emergent uncertainties regarding the nature of future employment
possibilities under conditions of information overload and permanent challenges
to learning, to what extent does a richer pattern offer a "keyboard" through
which various forms of harmonious engagement may be explored -- notably
allowing for ignorance by all and the increasing propensity to forgetfulness
of an ageing population?
As one answer to the question at the end of the previous section, under conditions
of "self-improvement", one may well be "trading" with other cells of any such
pattern of metaphors -- "across the table", possibly framing the other cells
Engendering employment through interactive social networking
Current social networking: In the light of the above, and the explosion of
social networking technology and uptake, the question is to what extent such
web facilitation enables and engenders engagement and employment. There is
no question that it is "engaging" for many of those who have access to it.
It may then constitute a significant mode of "employment", whether remunerated
monetarily or not -- accepting that the tokens may well be virtual (as in Second
Life). There is also no question that it enables formation of relationships,
of whatever nature or duration. Many web facilities are open to those proposing
employment opportunities or seeking them; they may also highlight potential
matches for consideration.
Various generations of multi-user, online, interactive gaming -- whether text
only MUDs or graphically enhanced
MMORPGs (massively multiplayer
online role-playing games) -- facilitate by various means the formation and
management of competing groups (clans
or guilds). Their objective may notably be to acquire virtual wealth (and
associated status), however this is represented. It is not clear how far the
preoccupation with "guild management" extends into a form of entrepreneurship
generating employment. Membership and organization of such clans may be enabled
by methods that reflect processes in the real world. In virtual
artificial worlds (as with Second Life) groups may also form in response to
interests bearing no relationship to acquisition of token wealth.
Combining job seeking and group formation: It would appear, however, that
there is a missing facility. This would be some combination of the existing
"jobseeking" facilities and the "group formation" facilities -- given that
the former is highlighly individualistic (focused on conventional remuneration),
whereas the latter is concerned with the fomation of a viable group (typically
focused on virtual wealth or psychic income). The question is what would be
required to enable the emergence of a group which would engender employment
-- most notably jobs that would lead to remuneration with conventional monetary
Some considerations might include:
- what exactly is the catalyst for new group formation of higher quality,
however that is to be interpreted in terms of sustainability, negentropy,
- beyond the "clan" model, to what extent might viability and competitive
advantage be associated with the subtle symmetries of ever more complex polyhedra,
as discussed separately (Polyhedral
Empowerment of Networks through Symmetry: psycho-social implications for
organization and global governance, 2008; Polyhedral
Pattern Language: software facilitation of emergence, representation and
transformation of psycho-social organization, 2008)?
- might virtual environments (such as Second Life) provide ideal "test beds"
to experiment with conventionally improbable forms of organization, bringing
together an improbable range of people to ensure the requisite variety for
- would such structures (even the most complex, such as the E8
constituted in Second Life) then be not only aesthetically enchanting
but effectively psycho-active and collectively enabling -- as very powerful
Enabling self-organization: Whilst elements of such possibilities are already
in operation (thus demonstrating their potential viability), a key requirement
is to move beyond group formation around a specific seed theme or objective
in order to enable:
- more viable and attractive groups to configure in the absence of
specific initial seed
- a dialogue/selection (self-organizing) process through which the emerging
its distinctive objective, quality or process
- experimentally determines and selects the individuals representing
the distinct qualities it requires to ensure that viability, deselecting
those do not -- effectively a process of team building in response to
an emerging challenge
- explores alternative structures, whether or not inspired by polyhedra
- a progressive development or evolution of the group over time, as a result
of learning processes associated with members designing themselves in or
out (as with the challenge well-recognized in any succession of marital relationships
in the tendency to always "make the same mistake")
Aspects of this are already designed into the processes of Second Life group
of thousands of groups are available with the "market" deciding how
individuals are assigned to groups -- possibly according to basic profiling. It
is unclear whether the assigning process is enabled by the kinds of matching
facilities evident in the more sophisticated jobsearch facilities. It is
also recognized that the current platform only allows an individual to participate
in a maximum of 25 groups. Participants can of course design themselves into
or out of such groups although it is less clear what is the nature of the
"learning" that is taking place: by the person, by the group (when the person
leaves), or by any enabling (neural network) software endeavouring to converge
on a better match with some other group (itself in its own learning process
regarding its membership needs).
Group evolution and emergence of entrepreneurship:
The question is whether the existing enabling processes within virtual environments
offer advantages in creating ever more viable groups over those in conventional
face-to-face interaction -- where people do indeed select themselves in or
out and the groups do evolve. However, it cannot be said of the latter that
they can be upheld as exemplars of team achievement and maturation, with possible
exceptions in sports, research groups, military, and meditation.
For example, can the virtual environment offer facilities to take
actionable feedback from a group member indicating a desire to be in some
- without Person X or Y
- with Person A or B
- with greater emphasis on topic C or D, and less on topic U and V
- with greater emphasis on process style P and less on process style Q
- taking greater account of value M and less account of value N
- making greater use of personality profiling model E (eg Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator, Belbin
Team Role Inventory) and less use of model F (eg
Can this happen on an ongoing basis so that groups are constantly
refining their membership, focus or dynamic according to what that group understands
to be "better" -- and so that people are able to identify groups of higher
quality (perhaps by analogy to those who have earned more wealth). Simply put,
how can more powerful attractors be engendered and become evident as such.
This requires that protocols are supportive of self-organization
and not functioning in a "Big Brother" mode -- except to the extent that
someone says they want "out" of a given combination and "into" one with more
of other specified characteristics, and that the choices are then offered. Clearly
this is relatively easy when the choices are based/centered on
simple categories ("seeds") but much subtler when the combinations are shifting
configurations, with a group reframing what it is about over a period
(filtering people / themes / energies in and out) and reframing the categories
by which it might be provisionally labelled.
It is interesting that for current that the outcomes, for current participants
in any such sophisticated (guild), self-organization may be felt to be are
some very sophisticated group/team
Pre-web articulation: An early effort to articulate some
of these possibilities, building on development of computerized dating facilities
has necessarily been superceded by web-based social networking (Group
Questing or Twelving, 1976). Nevertheless the arguments there regarding
the use of software to facilitate construction and self-organization construction
of more attractive groups remain of some relevance -- to the extent that these
facilities are not well-developed in current explorations of social networking.
Pattern language for engendering employment
Polyhedral pattern language: The above considerations lend
themselves to reinterpretation as the development and use of a pattern language
for engendering employment -- by extension of the methodology of Christopher
Pattern Language, 1977; The
Timeless Way of Building, 1979). One suggestive possibility
is indicated separately (A
Five-fold Pattern Language, 1984).
The focus mentioned above highlights the role of polyhedra (as manipulated
with the aid of graphics software) to hold the requisite variety of any viable
array of roles through which employment might be engendered -- notably as the
configuration is phased into an entrepreneurial mode. In a sense this is an
extension of the patterning facilities used by Alexander, but understood here
in non-material and multidimensional terms (as exemplified by topology). A
key feature is the way in which topological considerations highlight the need
to configure distinctions -- whether values, roles or skill-sets -- such that
together they become attractive and psychoactively engaging (Topology
of Valuing: psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations,
Implications of gaming dynamics: Such considerations could translate back
into the clan and guild considerations of online gaming -- to the extent that
the features of any polyhedra are then variously understood as individuals
or roles (with their links to others), subgroups, or the configurations of
guilds into a larger whole. Properties of the polyhedra may be valuable to
the sustainability and robustness of any such configuration (Polyhedral
Empowerment of Networks through Symmetry: psycho-social implications for organization
and global governance, 2008). The relevance of such virtual environments
to engagement with real-world problems has been separately discussed (Playfully
Changing the Prevailing Climate of Opinion: climate change as focal metaphor
of effective global governance, 2005). The
question is whether these could be extended into engendering other forms of
employment, remunerated virtually or in real-world tokens.
Confidence containers as attractors:
Also of relevance --, given the real-world preoccupations with confidence-building
(as fundamental to engendering economic opportunities vital to employment)
-- is whether such an approach creates containers or vehicles for confidence
in an increasingly fragmented turbulent environment (Metaphors
as Transdisciplinary Vehicles of the Future, 1991). In this sense
the configurations engendered through any such pattern language may fruitfully
be understood as stories and narratives -- both by analogy to folktales and
to larger epics, given the coherence they offer.
It is appropriate to appreciate that a polyhedral articulation of any collective
initiative moves beyond the conventional approach to formulating "mission
in bulleted linear text, and beyond their further articulation through the
construction of two-dimensional network, system or mind maps. The essence of
an initiative then necessarily has other dimensions -- the polyhedral software
currently enables manipulation of polyhedra in four dimensions -- enabling
a richer sense of the coherence and focus of the whole, thereby enhancing its
power as an attractor (Human
Values as Strange Attractors: coevolution of classes of governance principles,
1993). The multi-facetted feature of such polyhedra recalls the special lens
structure of a lighthouse, thereby offering an interesting metaphor -- given
the predilection for "vision" metaphors.
Group evolution and transformation: Given that any initiative
can best survive by recognizing the extent to which it needs to learn and adapt
in a complex dynamic environment, the merit of any such pattern language is
the manner in which it enables (notably with software support) both development
and evolution of any particular configuration. It is important to recognize
the extent to which any single polyhedron, whatever it is held to represent,
is in effect embedded in a set of potential transformations to simpler and
more complex forms -- some of much greater complexity, whatever their symmetry.
These can be used to provide an attractive, comprehensible template for the
evolution of psychosocial groups -- or their temporary transformation in response
to particular circumstances.
The features of a polyhedra can then be variously
used to hold the nature of "bonds" between people, roles or preoccupations
-- recognizing that such bonds may be necessarily dynamic (rather than "set
in stone"), and possibly more characterized by resonance. The credibility and
stability of the structure as a whole may then rely on its nature as what in
chemistry is termed a "resonance
hybrid" -- of which the simplest
are in fact fundamental to organic molecules and life (Conceptual
Scaffolding and Prosthetics, 1995).
of different views of possible viable employment structures of the future
engendered through self-organizing processes in a virtual environment
(using Stella Navigator,
as developed by Robert Webb)
(flat 2D version and
version partially folded into 3D structure on right)
(distinct roles associated with vertices;
distinct agendas associated with faces)
[click to view rotating GIF
Combination of Icosidodecahedron
and Rhombic triacontahedron (from left)
triacontahedron (dual of Icosidodecahedron
(distinct agendas associated with vertices;
distinct roles associated with faces)
Future of engagement and employment
The argument above highlights the manner in which notions of "employment"
and "leisure" can usefully be experienced through a broader context of "engagement".
This may be with any "other" in which "investment" may indeed be appropriate.
In this sense many of the categories so well-elaborated by economics merit
generalization -- possibly even to consideration of how a person may be "self-employed"
or "employed" by the future. Rather than purely monetary, any "income" may
then take the form of the credits implicit in LETS systems, tokens of virtual
environments, or of a purely "psychic" form -- whether through employment
in voluntary associations or as a consequence of some form of self-employment.
In his own explorations, Jeremy Rifkin (The
Future of Work: rethinking employment in the 21st Century [video])
highlights the implications for redefining the role of the individual in a near
workerless society -- seen as likely to be the single most pressing issue
in the post-market era of the decades to come. He emphasizes the need to develop
fresh alternatives to formal work as well as new approaches
to providing income and purchasing power.
Of interest also is the influence of understandings of "employment" in other
languages and sub-cultures. The Roma offer a current challenge in Europe. Indigenous
peoples offer a continuing challenge in many former colonies. Cliff Goddard
discusses the Pitjantjatjara / Yankunkunytjara peoples of central Australia
Ethnopragmatics and Semantics of ‘Active Metaphors’, Journal
of Pragmatics, 2004).
At a time when the peoples of today are becoming increasingly indebted to
those of the future (expected to pay off current excesses), it is also of
interest the extent to which people are now effectively "employed
by the future",
if only in a developmental and/or evolutionary sense (Being
Employed by the Future: reframing the immediate challenge of sustainable community,
1996). This raises the question of how the future will see "jobs" in
relation to "employment" and "engagement" in society and
its development. The importance of the role of metaphor has been stressed and
this may become increasingly central to such emergent understandings of coherence
in a society threatened by fragmentation and collapse (Metaphors
as Transdisciplinary Vehicles of the Future, 1991).
In relation to engendering future employment, also of relevance is the sense
in which the future is itself "engendered" (Engendering
the Future through Self-reflexive Group Initiatives, 2008). This is
especially relevant in a social networking context (Future
Generation through Global Conversation: in quest of collective well-being through
conversation in the present moment, 1997). Of particular interest
with respect to polyhedra as "containers" or "vehicles" is the sense in which
-- beyond the "business
incubator" metaphor currently favoured for engendering
initiatives -- they may function as a form of "reactor", even a form of alchemical
crucible. The design challenge for such containers is reminscent, in metaphorical
terms, of that required for nuclear fusion (Enactivating
a Cognitive Fusion Reactor: imaginal transformation of energy resourcing, 2008).
The coherence offered with polyhedra by the spherical metaphor, in contrast
to others, is notably evident in relation to engagement with environmental
Configuration of Categories -- to reflect systemic patterns of environmental
checks and balances,
1994). However it is also potentially significant in relation to the challenges
faced from a purely economic perspective, notably in the light of the the
additional constraints imposed by triple
bottom lines, and more (Spherical
Accounting: using geometry to embody developmental integrity, 2004).
But the generalization of the spherical metaphor, through the torus, offers
further insights of potential relevance to psychological engagement (Comprehension
of Requisite Variety for Sustainable Psychosocial Dynamics: transforming a
matrix classification onto intertwined tori, 2006).
A related line of potential spherical insight is to be found in fullerenes --
the family of carbon allotropes, molecules composed entirely of carbon,
in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, or tube. As spheres they
are also called buckyballs [image], the names being in honour of R
Buckminster Fuller who worked so extensively on the applications of spherical
polyhedra, notably in relation to planetary resources (Hugh Aldersey-Williams,
The Most Beautiful Molecule: the discovery of the Buckyball,
1995). There is the curious possibility that the thinking required for the
configuration of skills engendering engaging "full employment" might imply
similar properties -- perhaps "fullermeans" rather than fullerenes (Understanding
Sustainable Dialogue: the Secret within Bucky's Ball? 1996)
|Great Truncated Icosidodecahedron
(complexification to 120 vertices and 62 faces)
|Stellation of Great Truncated Icosidodecahedron
(complexification to 120 vertices and 62 faces)
Of fundamental importance, given the unavailability of "jobs" for
the young -- even those most highly educated -- is the nature of the "engagement" with
society that may prove to be appropriate and meaningful. This goes to the
heart of the question raised by Rifkin of how the individual reframes a personal
sense of identity in the turbulent context expected. This also raises fundamental
questions of the possibility of entrapment of the kind only too evident in
the frozen category of "job". Hence the relevance of seemingly more
extreme perspectives (Being
What You Want: problematic kataphatic identity vs. potential of apophatic identity? 2008).
Also of relevance is the possibility for the "overqualified" to derive
greater meaning from simpler jobs through subtly reframing them in ways of
which others are not necessarily aware, as implied by various arguments for voluntary
simplicity (Duane Elgin, Voluntary
Simplicity: toward a way of life that is outwardly simple, inwardly rich,
Such considerations raise the possibility of considering that current disciplines
and institutions of governance suffer from a cognitive "disease" that
inhibits their capacity to make more effective use of metaphor to reframe the
situation and introduce higher degrees of flexibility. One "disease" known
for such a symptom is autism -- if only as Asperger
Syndrome, namely "autism lite"
and Information Diseases in a Knowledge Society: speculations towards the development
of cures and preventive measures, 2008). Arguably, given the manner
in which collectively memory is so severely challenged, other collective
pathological conditions could be considered (cf Societal
Learning and the Erosion of Collective Memory -- a critique of the Club of
Rome Report: No Limits to Learning, 1980).
If, as indicated above, online gaming environments are of some relevance to
engagement with climate change, there is the curious possibility that the dynamics
of the planetary water
evaporation, etc) may offer insights into the transitions between various conditions
of engagement and employment
in a knowledge-based society (as suggested by the phase diagram above).
Psychoactive engagement may well prove to be based on other forms
transformations of the icosidodecahedron (above)
Clues to engendering employment and engagement in the future?
Provocative afterthought: Learning from "swine flu"?
viral marketing, viral engagement, viral employment
It what respect might it be claimed that the swine flu
virus engenders more employment than the promises of the G8? Its structure would
seem to offer a more efficient delivery system through an original form of
a high degree of direct engagement (Rassak’s
(almost) 10 Rules of Viral Engagement
, 2007). What might be the as yet
unknown memetic analogue which could deliver "viral employment" worldwide (Anthony
Viral Employment Campaign
, 2009)? Are the many different
configurations of skills capable of engendering employment in the future to be
compared with the viability and resilience of such structures -- and their capacity
for mutation? Once discovered, will their competitive advantage cause them to
become jealously guarded strategic "secrets" -- if not copyright -- as were the
early navigational maps of the world? Should
organizational structures without such capacities be recognized for their incapacity
to engender employment? Maybe it is they that need a "job"?
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