Broken Promises: The Probable Futurity of the Laboring Class (Re-Assessed)

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


Over the past two decades, work relations have changed dramatically. New phenomena like “gig-economy” or “crowd work” not only constitute precarious working conditions but also contradict with our social esteem of work resulting from the social theories of the classical economy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The central focus of classical economists on building an educated and disciplined workforce provided not only the base for the upcoming industrial society but also resulted in a work-based society where “being employed” became the precondition for social security and social participation. It is the aim of this contribution to show how our positive attitudes towards work, established by the political economic theories of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, are jeopardized by the social changes in post-industrialized societies, due to the effects of globalized economies, digitalization and changed industrial relations. This has also far-reaching consequences for managerial theories based on conceptions like meaningful work or discussions about social responsibilities vis-à-vis employees as primary stakeholder groups.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-275
Number of pages17
JournalHumanistic Management Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85134238354
unpaywall 10.1007/s41463-022-00128-2