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A growing number of people think their job is useless. Time to rethink the meaning of work

A Narrow Definition of Work

Capitalism ensures only if we generate money can the work we do have any real, measurable value. Education systems prepare us to be the pawns of the employment sector.
Such work can start to appear pointless to a lot of people.

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A growing number of people think their job is useless. Time to rethink the meaning of work

A growing number of people think their job is useless. Time to rethink the meaning of work

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/04/why-its-time-to-rethink-the-meaning-of-work/

weforum.org

5

Key Ideas

Automation and Future of Jobs

Economists have been long worried that automation will take away our jobs. As old kinds of jobs disappear due to technology and automation, new kinds of work started emerging.
The rising cases of stress and burnout due to more hours of work is contrary to what should have happened due to automation: less working hours.

"Bad" Jobs

A growing number of workers are increasingly dissatisfied and underwhelmed with their seemingly fancy job profiles as bankers, tax-advisors, and all the garden variety managers, whose job is to add to the bottom line of a company.

These kinds of jobs don't add value to the world and serve no real purpose.

The Meaning of Life

The meaning of life is to make this world a little nicer, more beautiful and maybe more interesting, mainly through what we do.

A Narrow Definition of Work

Capitalism ensures only if we generate money can the work we do have any real, measurable value. Education systems prepare us to be the pawns of the employment sector.
Such work can start to appear pointless to a lot of people.

Universal Basic Income

If the definition of real work changes, with the real benefits of automation and technology (like the Universal Basic Income) providing us the Utopia that is long-promised, then we may start to do work that is meaningful.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Our culture of work

Our culture claims that work is unavoidable and natural. The idea that the world can be freed from work, wholly or in part, has been suppressed for as long as capitalism has existed.

Exploring the abolition of work
  • In 1885, socialist William Morris proposed that in the factories of the future, employees should work only four hours a day.
  • In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that advances in technology would lead to an age of leisure where people might work 15 hours a week.
  • Since the early 2010s, these ideas have been developed further, creating a growing critique of work as an ideology, and exploring alternatives to work.
  • Post-work offers enormous promises: In a life of much less work, life would be calmer, more equal, more communal, more pleasurable, more thoughtful, more politically engaged, more fulfilled.
Work ideology

The work ideology is not natural nor very old.

  • Before the modern era, all cultures thought of work as a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Once the modern work ethic was established, working patterns started to shift. Between 1800 and 1900, the average working week shrank from 80 hours to 60 hours, and in the 1970s to roughly 40 hours.
  • In 1979, Bernard Lefkowitz related in his book that people who had given up their jobs reported feelings of "wholeness." During the same period, because wages were high enough, it became possible for most people to work less.
  • During the 80s, work ideology was reimposed by aggressively pro-business governments who were motivated by a desire for social control.
  • By the early 21st century, the work culture seems inescapable.

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    The Automation Myth

    For decades, we have believed that automation and huge leaps in technology will take away most of our jobs and there will be widespread unemployment.

    A new study shows that this belief is inc...

    Hours worked vs Income

    The average working hours have declined only 6 percent, while income has increased at a decent rate per year.

    The economy has actually grown even after automation, due to the addition of workers.

    The Solow Paradox

    The Solow Paradox suggests that automation and computerization aren't taking our jobs, but are adding to our overall workload, taking away our leisure time.

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    Problems with the Work Ethic
    • For centuries, the promise of America has been built on the work ethic, with everyone aspiring to have a job that pays them.
    • Work Ethic as it is has not provided any social, moral or s...
    The Unfulfilled Promise of Work

    What working a decent job means is slowing losing ground, as we are not deriving meaning from our work.

    Having a job means getting paid for our talents, but it may not be the case for many. Work ethic is supposed to provide us a good life, but in reality, the opposite is happening.

    Following The Orders

    Most workers rely on the whims and fancies of the so-called 'Job Creators', a class of people who own a business and can employ staff. Job creators hold power on the worker's time, behavior and conditions of employment.

    These employers also monitor and sanction what workers post on social media, what they eat or drink, how frequently and for how long are they going to the bathroom, and what are their political leanings.

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