Issue 534 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

November-December 2021

Shifting horizons: the future of work

Workers have been getting increasingly squeezed, with year-on-year declines in the labour share of profits and bargaining power. The great worldwide jolt of the Covid-19 pandemic revealed the fault-lines and brought calls for a better deal. Now, as business-as-usual resumes with a vengeance, the need to imagine and create fairer, more dignified futures for workers becomes more urgent. This edition explores the threats and the possibilities. The age-old, ongoing struggles for unity, better working conditions and greater autonomy remain vitally important. But more radical questions also need raising. Such as, do we really need to work quite as much, when we can provide comfortably for the needs of all? And whether chasing full employment is any good for a planet pushed to its ecological limits.


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In this issue

  • Loneliness and social isolation have become chronic issues across the world. We must resist attempts to close down meaningful human interaction, writes Husna Ara.

  • In co-operatives, employees can take control of the business. Amy Hall explores the possibilities and challenges.

  • Black women in the US do the socially important work, often unnamed and unrecognized, that is essential to the profit of an economic elite. Rose M Brewer profiles four examples of how they are standing up for change.

  • Do zoos represent pointless captivity or an opportunity for conservation and education? Linda Kimotho and Oluwaseun S Iyasere have different takes.

  • Richard Swift on why we need to stop chasing the dream of full employment and focus on what really matters instead. 

  • To ensure a fairer future we will need to tackle business as usual, says Dinyar Godrej.

  • Jo Lateu, Peter Whittaker, Vanessa Baird weigh up recent releases in radical publishing.

  • Roxana Olivera reports on the indigenous women who could make legal history by holding a Canadian mining company to account for its operatives overseas.

  • A decade on from the revolution, and after a succession of chaotic governments, is democracy teetering in Tunisia, asks Francesca Ebel?

  • Despite mass unemployment and a deep food crisis, Turkmenistan’s image-obsessed president claims poverty does not exist in his country.

  • What would be the cost of reparations for the transatlantic slave trade and ongoing support of fossil fuels? Sahar Shah and Harpreet Kaur Paul explore the Lloyd’s insurance market.

  • Malcolm Lewis and Louise Gray review the latest releases by Justin Adams and Mauro Durante and Bareto.

  • DJ Switch, a 13-year-old campaigner for children’s rights and all-round powerhouse, talks with Subi Shah.

  • Narendra Modi has announced his intention to repeal the contentious agriculture laws unwaveringly resisted by India's farmers for over a year. Navsharan Singh gives the back story to the movement.

  • Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle

  • A vast area of Namibia and Botswana is under threat from oil and gas exploration. Devastating consequences are feared for the people, wildlife and natural environment. Graeme Green reports on the fight to keep Kavango alive.

  • Iris Gonzales visits Manila’s largest fish port, where the effects of an international dispute are playing out.

  • Conrad Landin explores the idea of a universal free ride.

  • As the UN climate talks commence – where talk of a green and just transition for workers is on the agenda – Conrad Landin inspects the ground realities for oil workers in Scotland.

  • Richard Swift on the Taliban leadership that now governs over 40 million Afghans.

  • Amy Hall speaks to Global Assembly organizer Susan Nakyung Lee about the limits and potential of democracy and how a snapshot of the world’s population will take their message directly to COP26.

  • Danny Chivers offers up five useful things we can all do to secure meaningful action during the COP26 climate talks.

  • Nilanjana Bhowmick on why women won’t linger awhile.

  • With the legitimacy UN climate conference under question, Eve Livingston speaks to the activists adamant that change will come from the grassroots.

  • Leo Sakamoto fears a drought as Brazil’s long-brewing water crisis hits home.

  • Multiple coups, a global virus and democracy on the ropes in many parts of the world. Nanjala Nyabola asks, have we gone back to the 1980s?