In his 2004 Massey Lectures, A Short History of Progress
, Ronald Wright explored “the progress trap”: the idea that as societies innovate and progress, they often introduce unanticipated problems that they cannot, or will not, solve. This panel discussion takes the concept of the progress trap as a launching point for exploring and explaining how similar “traps” manifest themselves in relation to labour, migration and technology. Following remarks by Ronald Wright, the panelists will draw on historical and contemporary moments in time, distinct disciplinary traditions, and overlapping concepts and issues, to examine causes and consequences of “progress traps” in a range of settings. To listen to Wright’s Massey Lectures, go to: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-2004-cbc-massey-lectures-a-short-history-of-progress-1.2946872
The Progress and Traps of Labour Law (Bethany Hastie)
Labour law is, according to many scholars, in a current state of “crisis”. A consistent decline in unionization rates and coverage, coupled with the changing nature of work and workplaces, has left the legislative frameworks governing labour relations ill-equipped to adapt and apply to contemporary labour. The historical normative underpinnings of labour law have been gradually displaced as the discipline and function of labour law became increasingly technical and administrative in nature. In this talk, I will discuss the current “crisis” facing labour law through the lens of the “progress trap” concept. How has society’s progress displaced labour law’s role? How has labour law’s own progress contributed to its current state of crisis? and, How can labour law adapt and advance to avoid ultimate demise?
Was Eden a Progress Trap? Arminian Biblical Interpretation and the Beginnings of Economic Liberalism (George Anthony Keddie)
In his A Short History of Progress
, Ronald Wright describes progress as a religion: “Our practical faith in progress has ramified and hardened into an ideology—a secular religion which, like the religions that progress has challenged, is blind to certain flaws in its credentials. Progress, therefore, has become ‘myth’ in the anthropological sense” (4). This talk will explore some of the ways that contemporary “secular” logics of progress were developed through biblical interpretation—that is, some of the ways that economic liberalism is shaped by Christian theology. In particular, I will briefly examine the interpretations of the Fall in Genesis 3 in the writings of the founding fathers of classical economic liberalism—Hugo Grotius, John Locke, Adam Smith, and Thomas Malthus—in order to expose the theological basis of classical liberal and neoliberal ideas of progress as they relate to freedom, labour, and private property. In doing so, I will propose that Arminian theology left an indelible, but largely overlooked, mark on the modern West’s “secular religion” of progress.
The myth of greener pastures - reinscribing global power relations in the lives of international migrants to Canada (Suzanne Huot)
Since settlement, immigration has been a key aspect of Canadian history and identity. With immigration policies emphasizing human capital, a commitment to refugee resettlement, government support for newcomer settlement and integration, and legislation enshrining multiculturalism, Canada's immigration system has been lauded as a global model. Yet the daily lives of many immigrants and refugees throughout the country are characterized by structural barriers to social mobility and experiences of discrimination that contribute to feelings of disillusionment. In this presentation I critically examine ways that migrants from the Global South are marginalized within Canadian society.
A short history of Progress in Foods (Anubhav Pratap Singh)
This presentation will focus on answering Ganguin’s questions and debating if we are heading towards a food crisis on account of population growth being exponential versus food supply growth only linear.