bullshit jobs – dg

David Graeber‘s bullshit jobs ness

adding this page while re reading from original (2013) for upteenth time:


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.

let alone.. tries something different.. deep/simple/open enough.. for all of us..


So what are these new jobs, precisely? ….. “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers” tripled, growing “from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.” In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away …..

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector,

gershenfeld something else law.. luxury ness

up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations.

inspectors of inspectors ness.. fuller too much law

And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. 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). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.


This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it.  Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers

teachers as we know them today.. are more along managerial ness.. (note: not because most teachers want it that way.. that’s another psych violence ness – voluntary compliance ness.. in itself)

or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.



previous notes from

David Graeber‘s bullshit jobs ness

an 2015 – pointless jobs – 200 tube posters:


I remember being very struck by Dostoyevsky, who was in a Russian prison camp, and he said if you really want to destroy someone psychologically, much worse than through physical torture, just make up a completely meaningless form of work. You know, have them take water from some giant vat and then move it back to the first vat again. Have them do that all day and before long even the most hardened criminal will be utterly despairing of life, because there’s nothing more horrible than devoting one’s life to something completely meaningless. I mean, you know, sure, there will be some freeloaders, but we’ve got more freeloaders right now.

..work is valuable if it makes other people’s lives better.

mar 2015 – Paris on David:

Stop fighting for bullshit jobs // Paris Marx: Propaganda [003]

end of meaningless work april 2015:


..in 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the century technology would have advanced sufficiently that in countries such as the UK and the US we’d be on 15-hour weeks. “In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshalled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more.

Huge swaths of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they believe to be unnecessary.

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.”


In 2011, at New York’s Zuccotti Park, he became involved in Occupy Wall Street, which he describes as an “experiment in a post-bureaucratic society”. He was responsible for the slogan “We are the 99%”.

99 and 1

“We wanted to demonstrate we could do all the services that social service providers do without endless bureaucracy. In fact at one point at Zuccotti Park there was a giant plastic garbage bag that had $800,000 in it. People kept giving us money but we weren’t going to put it in the bank. You have all these rules and regulations. And Occupy Wall Street can’t have a bank account. I always say the principle of direct action is the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free.”


He is suggesting that, instead of being rule-following economic drones of capitalism, we are essentially playful. The most basic level of being is play rather than economics, fun rather than rules, goofing around rather than filling in forms. Graeber himself certainly seems to be having more fun than seems proper for a respected professor.


@chriscaple I look forward to the day when most of my work is profoundly irrelevant

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/600353107302862848


on bullshit jobs – david graeber:

i did this with my debt book tour.. i decided to do the opposite (of having to tour with a repeated script).. turn all those crazy rants and get them out there…

2 min – you keep meeting people who are embarrassed by what they do… and this is exactly what capitalism isn’t supposed to do… private firms making up jobs.. paying people for things for not doing anything… ie: all these industries.. that if they disappeared .. no one would notice… ie: telemarketing; corp lawyers; armies; middle management who organize meetings, fill out form, create paperwork/reports…. this is why people aren’t working

6 min – you have all these people administering other people... how does this happen… it’s not consumerism.. seems to be the idea that work is a value of itself..

– –

purpose of job rushkoff

we should figure out a way to get through this world w/o needing a job..

indeed: a nother way




the realest thing in our lives via Seth (same day)


The realest thing in our lives

Are the stories we invent.

We live with these stories, we remind ourselves of them, we perfect them.

And, happily, if you don’t like the story you’re telling yourself, you can change it.

we sit in our stadiums (thousands of thousands of us) yelling at manufactured players and/or online yelling at our yelling.
while – syria.. kampala.. solitary.. suicide.. et al goes on alongside
what might happen .. if instead of our story being that of our child being a future player (nevermind the less visible dying via body/brain/soul abuse) making tons of money/popularity and/or a future politician/official person making tons of money (nevermind the less visible dying via body/brain/soul abuse) … we changed the story to be that of our child being the one seeking refuge, answers, …
would that change things

a nother way

graeber model/revolution law

for (blank)’s sake


mar 2015 – Paris on David:

Stop fighting for bullshit jobs // Paris Marx: Propaganda [003]





*That* bullshit jobs essay by @davidgraeber – republished last week by @EvonomicsMag fb.me/8HAPkIL1i

why capitalism creates pointless jobs


It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working.


more notes bullshit page .. ie: notes from 2016 article on bullshit jobs and of course on David‘s maxed out page


graeber increase b law

graeber job\less law

graeber min\max law

graeber revolution lawgraeber model law



making up money


oct 7 2016


yes, the time has come. I’m writing the Bullshit jobs book. I need case studies. Send your experiences to: doihaveabsjoborwhat@gmail.com


oct 2016

David Graeber on the Value of Work – oct 2016


what is valuable about work

20-30% sitting there everyday thinking.. i’m not actually doing anything i hope nobody figures it out.. what does that do to the collective soul

how can you have dignity in labor

our ideology of work.. 19th cent – labor theory of value.. factory work as primary.. people believed it.. but very flawed.. kind of easy to attack.. to counter offensive in 20th cent.. how to validate work.. puritan idea.. work is valuable in itself.. if not working at something you like.. bad character.. anything that made work fulfilling undercut discipline of work.. led to.. feeling didn’t need to ie: pay artists

only way to shift.. ask.. what is value in labor

3 min – during occupy wall street – web page.. we are the 99%… all had same complaint.. i want to do a job where i actually care for people and benefit them in some way.. but if i do that pay so little in such debt can’t take care of own family

i think we are at brink of reformulation what work is and what is valuable about it that could really lead to a reformulation of how we org everything.. what we think production is.. production is ultimately the production of people.. production of commodities is a secondary moment which enables us to produce people that we’d like to have around.. that’s what life is really about

fashioning of people – interpretive labor

Roland Paulsen


David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 9:42 AM – 4 Aug 2017 :

shameless teaser – here are the very last footnotes from the Bullshit Jobs book https://t.co/ro48Evrazx(http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/893497439101104128?s=17)


7.) Furthermore, since plenty of the jobs that exist only because they serve the symptoms poverty – many/most repo men, jailers, payday lenders, criminal defense attorneys, bail bondsmen, etc. – might become obsolete, that factor alone might cause some DEFLATION.

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/JimbauxsJournal/status/931323437779480576