Employment is the realization of a series of tasks in exchange for a pecuniary retribution called salary. In today’s society, workers trade their skills in the so-called labor market, which is regulated by the powers of the state to avoid conflicts. The company would be the place where the faculties of the different workers interact with the purpose of perceiving a profit.
This order in the production of goods and services is intimately linked with the apogee of capitalism. On the other hand, at the dawn of humanity, the work of the most prominent societies was carried out mainly through the use of slaves who did not have their lives and who were subject to commercial traffic. In the middle ages, on the other hand, the work was done by the so-called “serfs”, who offered part of what they produced to the so-called “feudal lord”, who was the owner of the land. With the development of the bourgeoisie, social relations were changing, suppressing the feudal regime, but maintaining slavery.
With the arrival of the 19th century, work moves away from this ominous situation and approaches the current conception. Both slavery and servitude have been eradicated in large part thanks to the recognition of freedom and respect for the physical and moral integrity of man in documents of organism’s international organizations such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations (UN). Precisely in this Declaration both forms of possession of persons are totally abolished (rejected) and work in contrast is conceived as an activity exercised by the person, through free choice, without the pressure or obligation of anyone who requires him to do it (this does not it has to do with the tasks and responsibilities that each one has within a company or a particular job position).
The so-called Industrial Revolution indirectly led to many of the protections that safeguard the worker in our day. The replacement of labor by machinery had at first a pernicious impact on society, as a result of which the labor force was reduced to the greatest misery by a large number of workers. However, this helpless position of the worker led to the establishment of unions that were committed to defending their interests.
During the welfare state (Welfare State) consolidated on the basis of Keynesianism, the workers, grouped in unions, managed to recognize what we know today as “labor rights”. Among other things, from that moment on, the workers began to enjoy paid vacations, weekly rest days according to what was worked, days of no more than eight hours, and salaries of the time were visibly increased. The vision of the working man also conceived him as a consumer subject, so if that “working man” had his salary increased, and then he had more money, this would favor the action of the “consumer man”.
With the implementation of measures called Neoliberalism, many of these rights conquered by workers were visibly affected. One of the most drastic measures of neoliberal governments is to guarantee labor flexibility, which clearly favors the capitalists (companies). Another measure was to suspend the “unemployment funds” that were paid during a certain time (3 or 6 months, generally) to a worker to be fired from his job with or without explicit cause.
At present, employment is a difficult circumstance to guarantee for the entire active population. This means that the states redouble their efforts to reduce the number of unemployed to the minimum, and therefore mitigate the negative consequences that would result from this situation.
In a context of global crisis and social upheaval, however, it is not easy for governments to see what path or what economic “recipes” to follow to combat the issue of employment / unemployment. On the other hand, it is not so clear for citizens to see if the governments really intend to implement effective and viable plans to reduce unemployment and promote employment. In this sense, the battle is still being waged by the capitalists. In areas such as Latin America or Africa, programs such as those of the United Nations try to “empower” rural populations and women to achieve sustainable economies that also favor human development.