endnotes: it is interesting to contrast carlyle’s praise of work for freeing the soul from cares to nietzsche, who condemned it for that very reason: ‘in the glorification of ‘work’ and the never ceasing talk about the ‘blessing of labor’ i see.. fear of everything individual.. for at the the sight of work.. that is to say, severe toil from morning till night.. we have the feeling that it is the best police, viz.., that it holds everyone in check and effectively hinders the development of reason, of greed, and of desire for independence.. for work used up an an extraordinary proportion of nervous force, withdrawing it from reflection, meditation, dreams, cares, love and hatred’..
on .. capital not labor creates wealth/prosperity.. powerful coalitions of corporate interest made concerted efforts to transform the message of schools, unis, churches, and civic groups, claiming that ‘business had solved the fundamental ethical and political problems of industrial society’..
the promulgation of consumerism.. coincided w beginnings of managerial revolution.. which was esp at first.. largely an attack on popular knowledge.. where once hoopers and wainwrights and seamstresses saw selves as heirs to a proud tradition.. each w its secret knowledge.. the new bureaucratically org’d corps and their ‘scientific management‘ sought as far as possible to literally turn workers into extensions of the machinery, their every move predetermined by someone else
inspectors of inspectors et al
why psych studies regularly find that people of working class background are more accurate at reading other people’s feelings and more empathetic and caring than those of middle class.. let alone wealthy backgrounds.. rich people don’t have to learn how to do interp labor.. because can hire other people to do it for them.. those hirelings.. on the other hand.. who have to develop a habit of understanding other’s pov.. will also tend to care about them
to rpj’s counter to ‘can’t see other’s perspective’.. interpretive labor et al
for workers’ movement and revolutionaries like karl marx.. the real point was philosophical.. a recognition that the world we inhabit is something we made, collectively, as a society, and therefore, that we could also have made different.. every one (physical object) was grown or manufactured by someone on the basis of what someone imagined we might be like, and what they thought we might want/need.. they only exist because we produce them everyday.. john holloway ‘stop making capitalism’.. really just something we produce.. every morning we wake up and recreate c.. if one morning we woke up and all decided to create something else..then there wouldn’t be c anymore.. there would be something else..
one might say this is the core question.. perhaps ultimately the only question.. of all social theory and all revolutionary thought.. together we create the world we inhabit.. yet if any one of us tried to imagine a world we’d like to live in .. who would come up w one exactly like the one that currently exists..? we can all imagine a better world.. why can’t we just create one? why does it seem so inconceivable to just stop making c? or govt? ..
why not yet ness
one reason why it’s so difficult to simply create a diff society w diff set of rules.. even if we don’t like what the world looks like.. the fact remains that the conscious aim of most of our actions, productive or otherwise.. is to do well by others.. often.. very specific others.. our actions are caught up in relation of caring.. but *most caring relations require we leave the world more or less as we found it.. in the same way that teenage idealist regularly abandon their dreams of creating a better world and come to accept the compromises of adult life at precisely the moment they marry and have children.. **caring for others, esp over the long term, requires maintaining a world that’s relatively predictable as the grounds on which caring can take place.. one cannot save to ensure a ***college ed for one’s children unless one is sure in 20 yrs there will still be colleges.. or for that matter money.. and that in turn means that love for others.. people.. animals.. landscapes.. regularly require the maintenance of institutional structures one might otherwise despise
on the northern european notion that paid labor under a master’s discipline is the only way to become a genuine adult.. a sacrifice of joy an dplwasure that allows us to become an actual worthy of our consumerist toys..
search in vain for tombstone inscribed w ‘steam fitter’ ‘exec vice pres’ ‘clerk’.. in death.. essence of a soul’s being on earth is seen as marked by the love they felt for and received form fam.. while alive in contrast.. first question anyone likely to asked on meeting.. ‘what do you do for a living‘..
still the case.. though was supposed to change from what we produced to what we consumed: clothes we wear, music we listen to.. sports teams we follow.. since 70s.. everyone expected to sort selves into tribal subcultures.. yet somehow paradoxically.. people regularly report that work is what gives the ultimate meaning to lives.. and that unemployment has devastating psych effects..
enormous surveys/studies.. over course of 20th cent.. summarized as follows: 1\ most people’s sense of dignity and self worth is caught up in workin g for a living.. 2\ most people hate their jobs
earn a living ness et al
return to carlyle: work should be painful.. the misery of the job is itself what ‘forms character’.. workers gain feelings of dignity and self worth because they hate their jobs.. seems to remain in the air all around us.. ‘the pressure to value ourselves an others on the basis of how hard we work at something we’d rather not be doing.. if you’re not destroying your mind/body via pid work, you’re not living right’.. even those who don’t feel they have to validate existence on day to day basis by boasting how overworked they are will nonetheless agree that those who avoid work entirely should probably drop dead
an endless drumbeat of vilification of the poor, the unemployed, and esp those on public relief.. the society is besiege by those who want something for nothing.. poor are largely poor because they lack the will/discipline to work.. that only those who do or have worked harder than they’d like to at something they would rather not be doing.. preferably under a harsh taskmaster.. deserve respect and consideration from their fellow citizens.. central to what validates work itself.. suffering has become a badge of econ citizenship.. w/o it you have no right to make any other claim..
bs jobs proliferate today in large part because of the peculiar nature of managerial feudalism that has come to dominate wealthy economies.. but to an increasing degree.. all economies.. they cause misery because human happiness is always caught up in a sense of having effects on the world.. a social value.. yet at same tie.. aware that the greater the social value produced by a job.. the less one is likely to be paid to do it.. choice: useful/important paid little.. or pointless/degrading paid dignity/wage
7 – what are the political effects of bs jobs, and is there anything that can be done about this situation
george orwell, down and out in paris and london: ‘i believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is .. at bottom.. simply fear of the mob.. the mob are such low animals that they would be dangerous if they had leisure; it is safer to keep them too busy to think..
what i have described over last 2 chapters are the econ forces driving the proliferation of bs jobs.. what i’ve called managerial feudalism.. and what allows us to put up w this arrangement.. ie: pain in workplace only justification for furtive consumer pleasure.. and at same time.. jobs eat up more and more of our waking existence means that we do not have the luxury.. of a ‘life’.. that means.. that furtive consumer pleasure are the only ones we have time to afford.. (ones that can be placed in self contained predictable time slots one is likely to have left over between spates of work, or else while recovering from it.. ie’s of what i call ‘compensatory consumerism‘.. the sorts of things you can do to make up for the fact that you don’t have a life.. or not very much of one
cope\ing ness.. et al..
people in consumer societies, even those in bs jobs do eke out some kind of a life.. though one might ask how viable such forms of life really are in the long term.. considering population most likely to be trapped in pointless employment would also appear to be most likely to have lives marked by episodes of clinical depression or other forms of mental illness..
crazywise (doc) et al
even if none of this turned out to be the case.. one thing is inescapable: such work arrangements foster a political landscape rife w hatred/resentment.. those w/o work resent the employed.. the employed are encouraged to resent the poor.. as scroungers/freeloaders.. those trapped in bs jobs resent workers who get to do real beneficial labor.. those who do real.. underpaid, degraded, unappreciated.. all united in the loathing for the political class.. who they see as corrupt.. but political class finds these other forms of vacuous hatred extremely convenient since they distract attention from themselves..
taught to be bots.. to hate work.. in order to become proper adults.. who have no time to be mob ish.. resentment as vehicle.. summary: no happy campers in sea world..
we need to let go of any form of m\a\p
compensatory consumerism et al