We should have less work and more enriching lives.
One of the greatest things I’ve had for most of my life, is the opportunity to make and create things. I’ve been a tradesman for nearly forty years and some of my work will live on for centuries.
This was how it was for most people years ago. They made or participated in society for the good of themselves and others. They created and supported their community and felt a level of fulfilment beyond the effort and financial returns.
Then things changed…
Instead of taking the chance to evolve into a considered new way of life we bought the beads and blankets given to us with our servitude. Our life force is consumed in the workforce on worthless activity in exchange for money for the latest gadget or fancier house. We have been indentured to the ruling elite. The 1%.
Okay some of us are lucky and still create but not if we want to have all the trinkets. For that you must have a really worthwhile occupation, paying huge dividends and strip mining your soul. A merchant banker can buy the latest widget but how hollow is his spirit?
These are the Bullshit Jobs.
David Graeber talks of in, Why, despite our technological capacities, are we not all working three- to four-hour days?
It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen.
…this is the sort of very problem that market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking business is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.
There has to be a reason, some form of value for the pointless, bullshit jobs to exist.
The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on its hands is a mortal danger…
…and they won’t have to worry about a free thinking, angry mob if we’re too busy working, buying and distracted by the latest fad or news scare of the moment.
So this is what we’re left with.
Instead of evolving out of the back-breaking industrial revolution into the new dawn of intellectual enlightenment, we’re trapped like the peasants of yesteryear, working for our masters in task which keep us in survival mode and them in the riches they desire.
If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it’s hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the, universally reviled, unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing…
…Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working three to four-hour days.