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Paper presented at the International Research Seminar, organised by QCA,



This paper discusses some major trends concerning the restructuring of economies and social change in Europe. It will focus on the impacts on work and jobs and, above all, on qualifications and skills needed in the future. 1. THE CHANGING NATURE OF WORK The distinction between ‘necessary ’ labour and ‘useful ’ work is deeply rooted in Occidental history and culture. In her profound historic and philosophic review Hannah Arendt (1958/1981) analysed the roots of the valuation of work from the early Graeco-Roman times and Christianity up to nowadays pointing to the trichotonomy between ‘labour ’ for securing subsistence, ‘work ’ for creating values and ‘acting ’ politically in a broader sense. The antitheses concerning the different values attributed to work are not offset in our contemporary societies although their economic and social references have continually been changing over time. This becomes, for example, visible by the distinction between "blue collar work " or shopfloor working on the one hand and "white collar work " on the other; the historic roots, among other things of course, also may explain the basic imparity of esteem of practical training and general/theoretical education, in terms of social prestige, earnings, status an

Year: 2000
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