International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations

Volume 33 (2017)

Volume 33 (2017) / Issue 4

Nicolas Bueno, 'From the Right to Work to Freedom from Work: Introduction to the Human Economy' (2017) 33 International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Issue 4, pp. 463–487


It may appear to be paradoxical to celebrate work as a human right in an economic system in which for many work is associated with activities that are rather repetitive or stressful, sometimes meaningless, and seldom freely chosen. After presenting the content and historical origins of the human right to work, as defined in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, this article argues that the right to work cannot be universally fulfilled in the contemporary state-centred global economy. Moving beyond economic discussions placing too much attention on how to provide enough but sometimes unfulfilling work, the article examines the human potential to reduce the need to work. It outlines the theoretical and definitional foundations of the ‘human economy’, where human potential and creativity are rewarded in order to make the transition from the right to work to the freedom from work. The human economy is a potentialist approach in which the right to be free to choose work plays an increasing role

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ISSN: 0952-617X
ID: IJCL2017020