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From Productive Work to Capability-Enhancing Work: Implications for Labour Law and Policy


Bueno, Nicolas (2022). From Productive Work to Capability-Enhancing Work: Implications for Labour Law and Policy. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 23(3):354-372.

Abstract

What makes work useful, on what grounds and for whom? Classical economists distinguished between productive and unproductive labour. They focused primarily on productive labour and its ability to generate wealth for the economy as a whole, which influences why economic policies currently prioritize economically productive work over other forms of work. After reviewing the relationships between work and capabilities in the capability approach, this article addresses the individual and collective impacts of work on capabilities. It introduces a more complex and human-centred distinction between capability-enhancing and capability-reducing work. Finally, it proposes a capability-informed labour policy and designs new rights to assist in better aligning individually and socially capability-enhancing work. It shows how this policy has the potential to free from the economic need to work.

Abstract

What makes work useful, on what grounds and for whom? Classical economists distinguished between productive and unproductive labour. They focused primarily on productive labour and its ability to generate wealth for the economy as a whole, which influences why economic policies currently prioritize economically productive work over other forms of work. After reviewing the relationships between work and capabilities in the capability approach, this article addresses the individual and collective impacts of work on capabilities. It introduces a more complex and human-centred distinction between capability-enhancing and capability-reducing work. Finally, it proposes a capability-informed labour policy and designs new rights to assist in better aligning individually and socially capability-enhancing work. It shows how this policy has the potential to free from the economic need to work.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:02 Faculty of Law > Human Rights Competence Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
340 Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:Development
Language:English
Date:3 July 2022
Deposited On:28 Sep 2021 15:05
Last Modified:25 Apr 2024 01:39
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1945-2829
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/19452829.2021.1951186
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPZ00P1_179971
  • : Project TitleHuman Economy: Rethinking Economic Human Rights in the Global Economy
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)