“Dignity of work is at the heart of the new politics for the common good,” argues Jon Cruddas in upcoming lecture

Automation, artificial intelligence and the gig economy are changing the value of work, but we can reverse this trend by restoring dignity in labour, Jon Cruddas MP will argue in an upcoming lecture.  

Globalisation has detached economic and political power from communities, and weakened interpersonal relationships. Corporations have been gaining power, while essential workers have been losing out. We are left with zero hours contracts, sectors with chronic low pay and computerised check outs in our shops. Many accept these changes  as the unfortunate consequences of an economic system to which there is no alternative. Reform is  often discussed but  there is a lack of political  will to bring forward meaningful change to foster human flourishing.  

Jon Cruddas MP will take this head on in his forthcoming lecture, where he will discuss the challenges to human dignity posed by thesechanges to our understanding of the purpose of work. He will examine the impact, of artificial intelligence and the instability of the gigeconomy, on our wellbeing, and explore whether Universal Basic Income really is the panacea that campaigners believe it could be. 

“During the pandemic, we clapped for nurses, care home workers and porters,” said Jon. “We were moved by the sacrifice of postal workers, delivery drivers, cleaners, refuse operatives and shop workers. These jobs became more visible and acquired a renewed standing in our minds. We recognised the dignity of the labour.  

“Yet, few are concerned as so many  jobs are under threat due to automation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As we recover from the pandemic, this idea of human dignity, specifically the dignity of labour, could become the organising principle underpinning a new approach to our politics, built around a revived sense of justice and the  Common Good – and a new kind of ethical leadership.”  

Jon Cruddas MP will be speaking on ‘Just Working? Why the dignity of work is at the heart of the new politics for the common good’, the latest lecture in the prestigious Lincoln Lecture Series exploring how Christian social teaching can be a blessing to public life and discourse. 

This lecture is the sixth in the Lincoln Lecture Series, which is being delivered next Tuesday, 11th July, in partnership by Together for the Common Good, Lincoln Cathedral and CCLA.  Readers can book their free ticket by following this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/common-good-lecture-6-just-working-tickets-637907106327 

“The Church has been at the forefront of debates and discussions about the dignity of work for decades,” said Jenny Sinclair, Founder and Director of Together for the Common Good.

“From Pope Leo XIII‘s encyclical, Rerum Novarum through to the present day, Catholic Social Teaching has provided a useful framework for good judgement and can help us make sense of these critical issues that affect all our lives.

“Jon Cruddas MP is an intellectual heavyweight who draws on longstanding political experience, expertise in policy anda  deep knowledge of Christian social theology to provide a unique analysis into the profound challenges we face andthe practical approaches  required for meaningful reform.” 

The Revd Canon Dr Simon Jones, Interim Dean of Lincoln, said that the common good was a “quinquennial goal of the Church of England between 2005 and 2010, helping to shape the Church’s engagement in civic and political life.

“This social mission continues, which is why Lincoln Cathedral is delighted to partner with Together for the Common Good and CCLA to deliver the Lincoln Lecture Series, which will help to shape our social engagement by exploring both Anglican Social Theology and Catholic Social Teaching,” said Canon Jones. 

• Jon Cruddas is the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham and author of The Dignity of Labour. A practising Catholic, Jon is an Honorary Professor at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, and is writing a history of the Labour Party to mark the 100 year centenary of the first Labour Government in January 2024. He is also a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and a visiting professor at the University of Leicester.

Story by William Kelly, The Catholic Network