13, October

Many belief systems have been challenged in times of pandemic. Are they enough? Are we challenging those that may ...

Many belief systems have been challenged in times of pandemic. Are they enough? Are we challenging those that may lead us to a different qualitative stage as societies?
By Martin Padulla

During the month of September I had my birthday and at one point in the day I received an invitation to attend my Zoompleaños. A few days later, in my country they commemorate the day of the professor and I received a greeting that said Happy Profezoom Day.
These perhaps nice indicators of the concept of “new normality” invite us to reflect on the glasses we use to see reality. To think as a phenomenon outside our circle of influence made us resignify varied aspects of what our daily life was.
All these belief systems lead us to think that we see things as they are and not as we interpret them. These systems constitute paradigms, they are the crystals from which we look at the world.
Living from a certain paradigm is not something light or minor. It generates a frame of reference, it limits us, it determines what is possible and what is not.
In times of pandemic, many paradigms have been challenged, we have experienced and continue to experience changes and we try to adapt ourselves with more or less success to a new state of things.
What happens when I challenge my own paradigm? What happens when this is done collectively? Can a society challenge its own paradigm? Is it possible to sustain the same paradigm for a century? How long does a century really last?
Social changes occur from substantial modifications in the values, traditions, norms or material manifestations of the community in question.
For those of us living in the last third of the 20th century, the future was the 21st century, involving technology, automation, more comfort, an avant-garde and innovative agenda. The film industry and great literary geniuses led us to build that paradigm.
When we look today at labor relations, education, citizens’ rights, the quality of our democracies, the feeling that the 20th century has been the longest century in history becomes apparent. Aren’t we giving too much life to the 20th century? Isn’t the extension we are giving to the past too long?
The virus seems to be changing the status quo towards the 21st century in the worst way, with pain, fear, death, suffering, all this in the face of a political class that seems to want to apply recipes from the past. In some countries with dramatic housing crises, they are saying “Stay home. An explosive scenario. A lack of empathy that worries us when we think of social change as a material manifestation of society. Are they aware that they are playing with fire?
The acceleration of changes about how to train and how to work alerts us that the solutions must be integral. That the digital world requires social protection. That today there is an unacceptable gap between social protection coverage for old forms of employment and new forms of work. That we must rethink them because it is essential that the digital future of work is immune to the virus of precarization and informality. That we need to think about the Decent Digwork concept. And that all this requires concrete, immediate action.
In the “no touch” world that we will live for a while, the badly named non standard jobs will grow exponentially, the platforms will be key for development, remote work will be a reference, project jobs, temporary jobs and transitions with an efficient use in terms of skills training based on demand, a normal phenomenon in a volatile labor market, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and with COVID. There are intelligent and strategic ways to address this.
The future always imposes a challenge. And it means permanently building from the present. Perhaps our greatest challenge is to quickly change the lens with which we look at our reality and to quickly embrace a paradigm for the 21st century that is more modern, sustainable and inclusive.

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