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"Basically paid to do nothing" - except busy doing it all the time

I thought this was an interesting premise even if i didn't buy the hypothesis ("The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the '60s)").


In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes' promised utopia - still being eagerly awaited in the '60s - never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn't figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we've collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment's reflection shows it can't really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the '20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.

By fnord12 | August 20, 2013, 1:17 PM | Liberal Outrage

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey

Quoted from an interview with Ian Welsh by Jay Ackroyd. File this under "echo chamber" because i'm not sure Welsh, a pretty radical Scottish politician, is bringing any new data to the discussion, but i agree with his sentiment (as...    Read More: Non-productive jobs