The creation of new jobs and boosting productivity are essential to building an integrated and competitive economy. But they are means to an end, not ends in themselves. The overarching purpose must be to meet the needs of members of society, in particular the need to promote social and economic inclusion, human development and to eliminate poverty.
Part 1 of this discussion paper argues that society’s most pressing needs, at this point in time, are ultimately tied to the reduction of social and economic inequalities. This suggests that we must find better ways to both increase and distribute wealth. It suggests that the goal of raising average living standards is no longer enough as a stand-alone objective. Instead, we should reallocate our resources to raise living standards, promote human development and reduce poverty concurrently. This takes us to the most important of social and economic activities – work.
We argue that a sharp focus on making work better and fairer – a future of good work –is the best approach to creating and reallocating resources. Good work is more than a good thing. Building a future of good work is the best way to reconnect new wealth with social justice, raising living standards, promoting wellbeing and reducing poverty all at the same time. So, good work should be repositioned as the foundation of a modern moral economy.
Part 2 of the paper proposes a simple, practical framework to help government, business and others achieve this goal: a Charter for Good Work.