Future of work

Future of Work Future of Work Question 3 a) The history of Canada’s staple export can be best understood from Harold Adams Innis’s Staple Theory. According to Innis, Canada focused a substantial amount of effort towards the exploitation of staple products. Innis further argued that Canada’s staple export mainly comprised of unprocessed or semi processed products attributed to technological inability of the country to processes and export the products as finished products. Exports were major determinant of living conditions in the country. Canada exported raw materials while importing finished products from the industrialized nations. As time passed, the export of stables from Canada necessitated that huge quantities of resources be channeled to promote exports, which exacerbated a staple-inclined political economy. This contributed to slow growth of technological dimension of the country. However, Canada’s shift from overreliance on staples production began in 1960s leading to the emergence of a post-staples economy. Some of the staples that were produced in Canada for export include: wheat, fur, fish as well as wood.
b) From early 19th century backwards, Canada was basically a rural society where a significant portion of the population engaged in work to produce staples. Work was part and parcel of people’s lives and the overall societal organization. Autonomous workers owned their production means and had complete control over their work. Most of the farm products were consumed by households while surplus was sold in surrounding towns and villages. Farmers completed their tasks using crude tools the fruits of labor were largely reliant on temperature and climate changes. Farmers relied on moneylenders and merchants for financial support for the acquisition of farm inputs as well as land. Many farmers were seasonal employees, which was their mode of financing their agricultural activities. Early fur trade demanded high level of endurance with porters toiling under heavy loads. Fishing, which was also a seasonal activity like fur production, was characterized by highly volatile output leading to fluctuations of market earnings. As such, fishermen were compelled to look for supplementary work in agriculture as well as forestry. With Canada focused on exploiting and exporting natural resources to the mother nation, most people were engaged in the production of staples, which entailed laborious work.
c) As industrialization took off from mid 19th century in Canada, work lost its intrinsic meaning as it emerged as a way of earning a living. According to Krahn, Hughes & Lowe, (2011), the economy of Canada was still basically agrarian by 1840, which later changed rapidly with industrialization. Companies from American constructed their subsidiaries in Canada to avoid paying tariffs imposed by Canada on imports. This in turn led to the growth of urban areas and triggered social problems, which affected the lives of workers. During pre-industrial era, independent skilled craftworkers enjoyed autonomy over their work and were responsible for choosing their apprentices as well as deciding on the remuneration for the apprentices. However, this tendency waned as Canada became gradually industrialized. Company owners introduced new management systems, which embraced division of labor aimed at maximizing productivity. According to Krahn, Hughes & Lowe, (2011), work independence of craftworkers was reduced by industrialization of the economy of Canada leading to labor unrest. Krahn, Hughes & Lowe, (2011), further argues that over 400 worker strikes were experienced in Canada’s most industrialized cities from 1901 to 1914. Industrialization led to craftsmanship crisis in Canada. There was widespread exploitation of workers following the absence of labor laws and unions, long working hours, low remuneration and unhealthy working conditions plagued the economy despite economic growth. The working class remained largely poor.
Krahn, H., Hughes, K. D., & Lowe, G. S. (2011). Work, industry, and Canadian society, 7th Ed. Toronto: Nelson Education.