Industrial Legacy

The factory system, inherited from the Industrial Revolution, should be reworked to allow climate mitigation and adaption to become a large-scale terraforming project.

Collared Labor Constraints

The terra-collar work is an alternative to the future of work discussions haunted by the legacy of the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution marked the global transition to new ways of manufacturing, with efficiency and convenience as key drives for progress.

It implemented advanced technical tools which enhanced production to unprecedented levels, and enabled to increase profits accordingly, opening new streams of income and organising economic development.

It also introduced a factory system, with clearly defined roles and the division of labor, thus limiting the tasks to be performed and the need for training.   

Further division of labor produced various parameters that indicated how the labor is being organized, valued, and, most importantly, paid.

It consolidated class hierarchies among workers and created a framework that broadly defined the required knowledge, skill sets, salary and social benefits based on their apparel: white-collar for office workers, and blue-collar for manual labor.

Such distinctions continue to this day, with new categories such as black- and green-collar.

The terra-collar work breaks away with these distinctions, encompassing and repurposing some functions that the sectors currently imply.

It proposes a hybrid in-between that requires flexible and elastic sets of knowledge and skills informed by climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

As such, Terra-Collar does not merely refer to waged, formalized labor and also allows various forms of unwaged labor to be considered.

It describes the conditions and functions that define the worker, the work field, and the way towards the terraforming goal.

The development of the Industrial Revolution.

White-collar defines salaried professionals who perform administrative and managerial functions, typically in an office environment.

Blue-collar are working-class people who execute manual labor and receive an hourly wage.

Black-collar describes laborers who deal with the dirty and dusty workload, usually in extractive industries.

Green-collar are workers employed by the environmental sectors of the economy and responsible for corporate sustainability.

Framing Labor Risks

Most future of work scenarios advocate for large declines in many sectors because of advanced automation.

Various reports for the future of jobs paint a picture filled with AI and Machine Learning specialists, and software developers and engineers.

Job loss due to mechanization mostly threatens blue-collar workers, and recent developments in Machine Learning have started to threaten some white-collar positions too, thus bringing the discussion about automation to the fore.

Conversely, white-collar labor is mostly concerned with addressing issues such as working hours and workload reductions.

The UBI proposals also suggest that the taxes should be redistributed to clear more time from work, yet guaranteeing financial security.

However, the terraforming task emphasizes that the future will instead require more labor, not less.

The work to complete, primarily quadrupling the annual rate of emissions capture and reaching net-zero, will allow many to obtain new jobs, with proposals like UBI repurposed to financially support job retention programs for the terra-workers.

The list of increasing and decreasing jobs, as was projected in 2020. 

The graph illustrating negative emissions required for 1,5°C degrees pathway vs current pipeline (megaton CO2).

Labor and Automation

While the terra-collar work suggests that the entire labor can not be fully mechanized, it does not consider automation as redemption or as a threat.

Rather, it addresses automation as a consequential and complementary part of the effort to limit temperature to a habitable level.

Automation will require development, maintenance and deployment.

It will also open up time for more effective use of human skills and provide better insights for decision-making.

Human, mechanical, ecosystem, and algorithmic labor will be required to terraform the planet.

The current discussions around the future of work are not helpful because they disregard the main source of disruption for human activity in the future, as well as the biggest potential for employment, namely, climate change.

The impact of the achieved energy sustainability by 2030 on the employment rate in G20 countries.