Work

Fascinating article on work, how it is perceived, and how things are starting to change.

Some quotes to give you a flavour:

“One pharmaceutical executive told me that observing how his employees had responded to life on a form of basic income had left him wondering if they would accept returning to the kind of working life they had before. “The genie’s out of the bottle,” he said. 

Once something is done, it becomes possible, and scare stories about the world falling apart without workers chained to office desks become less effective.”

As the author Ursula Le Guin put it: “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”

The deep link sociologist Max Weber explored over a century ago, between the protestant work ethic and the spirit of capitalism, still sits in the heart of our culture, and anyone who seeks to have us work less will be told that what they are really doing is suggesting we all become lazier. In Britain, successive governments have very effectively fostered an environment in which people feel as though everyone should be working as hard – and suffering as much – as they are, with any thought that life could be improved in any way scornfully derided. 

4 thoughts on “Work

  1. Euan, I remember many years ago an American executive telling me I had a very good Protestant work ethic. This surprised me because I have always resisted working hard. Maybe we are dragged into the net without realising and the new norm is created, managed and even liked. Need to resist more!

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  2. That was a very good read – thanks for sharing Euan. Have you ever read Tom Hodgkinson’s book “How to be idle”. It’s on a similar theme, and had quite a positive impact on me when I read it.

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