Why should productivity, the key concept of the economy and work, which has become a barometer of our own value and social status, deserve to be reassessed?

Inherited from the industrial revolution, it "forgets" today all the contributions, all the people ensuring that the "productive" have enough to eat, see the children cared for and educated, the sick and elderly cared for... So many undervalued professions and largely occupied by women.

Not to mention the "free work", such as household chores or the educational load, provided, again, mainly by women.

Invisible tasks in the notion of productivity

Laetitia Vitaud, author and speaker on the future of work, expert at the Media Lab Welcome to the jungle, calls for a reassessment of productivity in the essay

Ending productivity.

Feminist criticism of a key notion of the economy and work

, recently published by Payot editions.

She is the guest of our

Minute Papillon podcast!

In this interview, Laetitia Vitaud recalls that “there is a very strong link between 'free work' and paid work.

And if we have the constraints of "free work", whether it is to take care of elderly parents, children, to take care of the household, to provide food because at some point there is no more canteen, this has immediate consequences on the possibility of gainful employment.

And this causes very strong economic inequalities, which are very gendered, because women do a lot more of this free work – two-thirds overall – while men have more availability to be paid for their work, since two-thirds of paid work, in aggregate, is carried out by men.

»

How to be “productive together”?

“What we miss the most [since the Covid-19 crisis] are collective times, rituals, “being together”.

It's something that needs to be reinvented, because one of the things that work gives us is the pleasure of being with others, of being part of a tribe (…), of feeling that we belong something bigger than yourself.

So, it's time to rebalance things, to strengthen ties to be more productive (…) because we are not productive alone”.

Listen to the rest of this interview with Laetitia Vitaud for free in the audio player above.

The speaker notably evokes the ambiguities of telework, or the reassessment of productivity in terms of collective work.

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