Friday, 12 October 2018

The Future of Pointless Work

quote [ In a 1932 essay titled “In Praise of Idleness,” the philosopher Bertrand Russell noted that he had come to think of work not as something morally necessary, but as a means to enhance pleasures in the rest of life […]. While acknowledging that he is a product of a Protestant work ethic and thus a compulsive worker, Russell suggests halving the workday to four hours, which would be enough for a person to secure “the necessities and elementary comforts of life,” leaving the rest of his time to do whatever he wanted. ]

Just some opinions. That final paragraph rang with me.

There have been sociological observations in Germany that suggest you should maintain a strict, work-like schedule for your daily routines to prevent suffering from stress under longterm unemployment.
[SFW] [business] [+1 Interesting]
[by Paracetamol@6:40pmGMT]

Comments

cb361 said @ 7:22pm GMT on 12th Oct
My team are generally miserable due to overwork and the paucity of time to satisfy all of the demands and expectations on us.
bbqkink said @ 7:30pm GMT on 12th Oct
apomorph said @ 10:17pm GMT on 12th Oct
Related New Yorker article from this summer:
https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/the-bullshit-job-boom
rhesusmonkey said @ 4:03am GMT on 14th Oct
didn't read the article. my opinions on this vary, because for "replaceable people", there is an assumed, market driven value to an hour's worth of work. Doesn't matter if this is reflected in the minimum wage group or not, but the idea that an individual can get by with a 4hr work day (or 20 hr work week) assumes that the value of that person's labour is sufficient to provide them with a livable wage. so if by extension you say yes, a single person needs only 20hrs per week to support themselves, then a married couple needs 40hr of work (for the pair, whether worked by an individual or each person). next we get to the nuclear family and assume therefore each family of four needs 80hr per week at a livable wage, or less than that at a superior wage. which is basically where we are at today anyhow.

the ideal future where George Jetson flies into work once a week to push one button is never going to get here, because the time-value of his labour is never going to replace the 50-60hr work week of professionals. Automation improves the efficiency of and individual, which means yes, we need fewer people to do the same work. that doesn't mean each person works less, rather it means one of them becomes "redundant" and is fired. the future is higher jobless rates, and as long as we continue to live in a capitalist (corporatist) society there will not be a balance of value to effort such that each individual is compensted more for the same time due to the increase their efficiency brings due to automation.
Paracetamol said @ 2:33pm GMT on 14th Oct
To be honest, it gets way more complicated if you take into account a family, because that means a lot of unpaid work in general.
The whole point in my opinion is not to emphasize the focus on automatization as a way to allow for fewer work but to acknowledge that it is so hard to objectively value ones work that it‘s more just to grant everyone more material security to begin with and the choice of what work they would rather do voluntarily on top. This is the idea of a basic universal income. The amount of money traffic would be similar and I suppose people would continue trying to sustain their work life as you describe it anyway.
rhesusmonkey said @ 3:22am GMT on 15th Oct
sure, which was why i had the caveat of "corporatist society" in there. Capitalism's maim goal is to extract maximum value from an enterprise to return to Shareholders (wasn't always this way, but i digress). therefore, efficiency gains are not a means to increase wealth to the worker, or to reduce their labour time, rather it is to reap greater benefit from the same labour-time for the benefit of shareholders. not saying i like or agree, just that this is how Corporate America works, and therefore, you won't see this kind of change in the current society.

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