The state of work in America exists in contradictions. Wealth creation is up, but the per-capita GDP is stagnating. Working-class wages have been flat for decades, but the “gig economy” is booming. This week we study the nature of work in this country, examining the future of automation, the changing role of labor unions, the identity politics of the working classes, and the disappearing line in work-life balance. We look across generations and social classes, seeking to find who we are in a culture that ties identity to the jobs we hold, and reclaiming and honoring the dignity of work.
Judaism and Christianity, as well as other faith traditions, espouse various perspectives regarding the nature of work. What are the practices and disciplines within religions which foster an understanding of work as inherently spiritual? Does the American spirit of rugged individualism help or hurt in understanding our relationship to work? Why do Americans seem to overly identify with their jobs? Why does “What do you do?” almost immediately follow asking someone their name? Why do people (and especially men) often experience a spiritual crisis upon retirement and the ending of “work” as a focus of their lives? Does economic inequality or wealth associated with work impact us spiritually? This week will strive to help us uncover the spiritual nature of our working lives.
author, The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir
A Fine Mess: Making Taxes Make Sense • T.R. Reid will take us on a world tour of tax systems and the efforts to reform them and will discuss the new tax reform law in the United States in light of others’ experiences. Reid can explain to us how the tax system can enhance rather than hobble an economy, and how the tax code benefits some over others. His one overall recommendation for tax reform is simply to simplify.Speaker(s):