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
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
Such distinctions continue to this day, with new categories such as black- and
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
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
Labor and Automation