"Man is made for something better than distributing dirt."
July 10, 2012 5:28 PM Subscribe
posted by byanyothername (106 comments total)
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"It's the 21ist century--why are we working so much?
" In which Owen Hatherley exhumes the humiliated, expired idea that the reduction of work is a worthwhile goal. "If there's one thing practically all futurologists once agreed on, it's that in the 21st century there would be a lot less work. What would they have thought, if they had known that in 2012, the 9-5 working day had in the UK become something more like 7am to 7pm? They would surely have looked around and seen technology take over in many professions which previously needed heavy manpower, they would have looked at the increase in automation and mass production, and wondered – why are they spending 12 hours a day on menial tasks?"
"The Politics of Getting a Life
." In which Peter Frase explores the ideological underpinnings of our concept of "work." "The furious passion for work is not a constant of human nature but rather something that must be constantly reinforced, and successive versions of the work ethic have been used to stoke that passion. At the dawn of capitalism, the call to work was a call to salvation, as Weeks explains in her reading of Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. She recognizes that, far from providing an idealist alternative to Marx’s account of the rise of capitalism, Weber complements historical materialism by describing the construction of a working class ideology. The word is used in Althusser’s sense: “the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.” The Protestant ethic allowed workers to imagine that when they worked for the profit of the boss, they were really working for their salvation, and for the glory of God."
Both essays reference Oscar Wilde's The Soul of Man under Socialism
All three are discussed (and pilfered from) Ran Prieur
, who frequently muses on the coercion of work and the value of idleness.