➢Turned into a book in 2018 ➢Graeber is an anthropologist and self-proclaimed “anarchist” ➢This is a book about the “psychological, social, and political effects” of the current system NOT a prescription for the future
Types of BS Jobs #3 “Shit” Jobs & Equal Pay Argument #4 From fried locusts to the “time famine” #5 Three types of unpaid labor #6 Public Sector vs. Private Sector #7 Service Economy? Or Not? #8 Politics: Obsessed with Jobs? #9 Brief History of Labor & Economics #10 The Answer: Oprah gives everyone $$?
that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged that this is not the case” DEFINITION
I denying that the bullshitization of all aspects of the economy is a critically important social issue. Simply consider the figures cited earlier. If 37 percent to 40 percent of jobs are completely pointless, and at least 50 percent of the work done in nonpointless office jobs is equally pointless, we can probably conclude that at least half of all work being done in our society could be eliminated without making any real difference at all.” 7
I denying that the bullshitization of all aspects of the economy is a critically important social issue. Simply consider the figures cited earlier. If 37 percent to 40 percent of jobs are completely pointless, and at least 50 percent of the work done in nonpointless office jobs is equally pointless, we can probably conclude that at least half of all work being done in our society could be eliminated without making any real difference at all.” 8 →Too high, too low or about right?
is clearly of benefit to society; its just that the workers who do them are paid and treated badly“ • Data Point: Oxfam estimates that 41 million people in are earning below $12 an hour—below the poveAmericarty threshold for a family of four, even working 40 hours a week. Shit jobs:
school teachers shouldn’t be paid well, or certainly not as well as lawyers or executives, because one wouldn’t want people motivated primarily by greed to be teaching children. The argument would make a certain amount of sense if it were applied consistently—but it never is. (I have yet to hear anyone make the same argument about doctors.)” Exceptions: Doctor is not a “shit job”
already receive a benefit by being gifted 2. Some people are biologically wired for “hard work” (a natural gift again) 3. Even if some worked harder than others, would need to know if it was altruistic or selfish 4. If altruistic, doesn’t make sense to give them more rewards. It would only make sense to reward “selfish”. 5. Since motives shift, you cannot simply divide selfish and altruists. Thus, it makes better moral sense to frustrate the egoists. 6. Thus it does not make sense to reward greater “effort” or productivity
17th Century – Mass Adoption (Pocket Watches) “spending time” vs “passing time” 17th Century Religion – “Husbandry” Of Time Good use of time = moral goodness 18th/19th Century – Social Problem Poor seen as lacking “time discipline” 20th/21st Century – Optimization “time famine” / optimize time
of air hostesses and need to be “perky, empathetic, good natured” lead to feelings of “emptiness” and “depression” Interpretive Labor: Needing to constantly understand and translate the intentions of someone “higher up” in an organization Caring Labor: Stay at home parents, caring for sick, elderly or loved ones, helping out in the community
says, ‘Look at all this money we would be saving from insurance and paperwork.’ That represents one million, two million, three million jobs [filled by] people who are working at Blue Cross Blue Shield or Kaiser or other places. What are we doing with them? Where are we employing them?” Who said it?
& Apprenticeships Work seen as transformative for young men 17th – 19th Century – Guilds fall apart Religion - work is punishment & redemptive 19th Century – Gospel Of Work / Producerism Carlyle: Labor be viewed as essence of life itself 19th Century – Reaction to Producerism Work is divine because it is source of wealth ((Luddism, Chartism, Riccardian, Adam Smith) 1861 – “Labor Theory Of Value” accepted Lincoln: “labor is prior to &independent of capital” BUT assumes workers eventually become owners
– Reactionary Economic Theories Labor theories: Marx, Ingersoll, Kearney Late 1800s – Work still tied to “public benefit” Law: Could only get LLC if proved benefit 1890s – “Gospel Of Wealth” (Carnegie, et al…) Capitalists argue capital over Labor Early 20th Century – Shift to consumerism Still rooted in “managerialist” approach – balancing benefit of multiple stakeholders 1970s – “Shareholder value” / Friedman “One social responsibility of business…to increase profits”
Way to re-distribute hidden work: we still do work for machines (e.g. when using facebook, we are helping train their advertising algorithm) • Applies universally – no free loaders • Does not take away incentive to work (at least one what people want to work on) • Simplified social safety net (1,000s of programs => single program)
the workplace – or perhaps the fact that the dynamics don’t seem to be changing. I want to help imagine a more sane future of work and this book discussion is my attempt to help raise some of the tougher questions. I’d love to hear from anyone that wants to have a conversation about any of these ideas. Paul Millerd Creator & Freelance Consultant Boundless: The Human Side Of Work CONTACT ME → E-MAIL ME → WRITING → PODCAST → CONSULTING