2018/10/17: After industrialism, we have the opportunity to create a habitation society. Habitation encompasses all that is involved in creating and sustaining human communities. In a habitation society, the main economic priority would be building the physical and social infrastructure of communities in which the citizenry could thrive. In the industrial era, millions of people were uprooted from their earlier communities to move to find factory jobs. They tried their best to construct new communities, but habitation work was always subordinated to earning a wage and it was crippled by the class inequality of that time.
Today, however, the largest share of the labour force works at producing, sustaining, and improving human habitation as farm work and factory work have fallen to little more than 10% of all employment. People who work in health care, education, social services, construction, communication, and local government can be coded as habitation workers. So, also, can public and private sector scientists, engineers, and technicians working on developing new products and services since most innovations are designed to help communities and households accomplish their ends.
But all of this labour is being done within institutional structures inherited from the industrial era that treated habitation — except for the wealthy — as a wasteful luxury. So, in fact, decisions about what our towns and cities will look like and what infrastructure would be created were taken out of politics and handed over to unelected technocrats.
The referendum shows how far Britain's economic failures have divided the country, but Brexit will only make them harder to address