What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? | Aeon Essays

Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?

Source: What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? | Aeon Essays, by James Livingston, professor of history at Rutgers University in New Jersey, author of many books including Against Thrift: Why Consumer Culture is Good for the Economy, the Environment, and Your Soul (2011) and No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea (2016)

These days, everybody from Left to Right – from the economist Dean Baker to the social scientist Arthur C Brooks, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump – addresses this breakdown of the labour market by advocating ‘full employment’ … Shitty jobs for everyone won’t solve any social problems we now face.

what social scaffolding other than work will permit the construction of character … imagine a world in which the job no longer builds our character, determines our incomes or dominates our daily lives.

what purposes could we choose if the job – economic necessity – didn’t consume most of our waking hours and creative energies?

Can we let people get something for nothing and still treat them as our brothers and sisters – as members of a beloved community?