Freedom and work. Diversity is the essential link.

12, March

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina Freedom of work is the right that people have to perform a work of ...

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina

Freedom of work is the right that people have to perform a work of their free choice. For the ILO, child labor is perhaps the worst form of forced labor.

The concept of freedom associated with work is always related to the concept of forced labor. However, I would like to approach freedom around work from an earlier stage to probably illuminate this phenomenon and perhaps contribute, in part, to eradicate it.

The right of  freedom of a person includes freedom of employment. It is worth asking whether we have that right fully or is subordinated to political, economic and / or cultural circumstances. What role does training play in a knowledge-based economy? Do regulatory frameworks affect? Do we have all the same degrees of freedom to choose and decide? Among which options? Are the concepts of freedom and equal opportunities associated?

Goethe argued that no one is more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

The concept of freedom seems to have changed along with the change that occurred in the passage from national, analog and industrial economies to global, digital and knowledge-based economies. Education that was always the key to open the door of freedom seems to acquire a superlative role and at the same time is experiencing an unprecedented crisis.

In a VICA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), lifelong learning through various forms and approaches becomes essential to avoid exclusion. There is no longer an unique door; they are and will be several, different, with different colors, shapes, aspects and will require multiple keys.

The problem of freedom constitutes the central core of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy. It refers to the freedom of the will. How to guarantee the freedom of the will of people in the 21st century? Is it achieved through regulations? Restrictions and prohibitions seem to be concepts opposed to freedom

A life project is broader than the choice of a career. Albert Camus stated that freedom is nothing more than the opportunity to be better. If we stop in this view, countries and regions with more degrees of freedom grant citizens more opportunities to be better. True freedom is associated with the possibility of choosing

The capitalism of the 21st century is characterized by the accumulation of data as capital. Big Tech uses a platform-based business model that enhances the combined strength of the internet with algorithmic intelligence (Metcalfe’s law with Watson’s law)

These business models explain much of the success of 7 of the 8 largest companies globally. The rules of the game changed, reality did. However, we intend to continue playing with the previous regulations. This is my law, if reality changes, worse for reality.

Millennials and centennials, as the protagonists of the world of work say no to the boss and yes to the mentor, the salary is not everything, the flexibility in the work is, they look for technology and innovation and prioritize stimulating, modern and creative environments.

Work by projects through platforms, the gig economy, temporary jobs, mobility, entrepreneurship, freelance jobs, jobs on demand, micro-jobs are all various forms of work that respond to a way of life, and that are vital changes that prioritize Diversity as value. We are facing a cultural change that seems to be aligned with a change of era. It implies rethinking rights and obligations seeking new frameworks that provide formality.

Subsidizing the obsolete seems to be in the DNA of the shift officials in our region. It is common to prohibit activities that generate work and reduce costs through the simplicity of a mobile phone. Before the disruption, the rigidity and the norm that does not regulate the will and the convenience of the citizen.

Returning to Kant we can observe that in the first definition of freedom he invokes the right of a citizen to obey only to those laws in which his legislative will can be reflected; in the second definition it refers to the right of the individual to ensure his well-being in the manner he deems appropriate (without implying damage to the freedom of others)

As Hayek states, freedom and responsibility are inseparable. I consider this to be especially important when we think of those who represent the citizens, the policy makers. They must meet their demands, satisfy their freedom, generate more possibilities for progress, more quality of life, more social cohesion, more sustainability. They must show that they live up to the circumstances.

The imperious need for a new social contract cannot be based on categories of the past, nor leave room for populisms that feed authoritarian hegemonic projects. It demands a vision of the future with legal-institutional frameworks that put freedom and diversity at the forefront.

As has been said in a friendly way, predictions are very difficult, especially when they refer to the future. What is very serious and sad is that the current state of affairs has produced inequality, poverty and exclusion in the region. It is necessary to transform urgently so as not to miss the development train.

At the base of this new social contract, diverse forms and instances of knowledge acquisition and diverse forms of work will be necessary conditions to increase the freedom of citizens and the viability of our societies in a knowledge-based economy.

About Martin Padulla

Founder and Managing Director of staffingamericalatina. Martin Padulla is Sociologist (USAL), MBA (UCA) and labour markets expert. He published “Flexible Work in South America” and “Regulatory framework for private employment agencies in Latin America” two books about the new realities of work in Latin America. He is working on the project #FOWiberoamerica.

Follow Martín Padulla on Twitter: @MartinPadulla