Work and jobs

Just found this interesting essay. It included this quote from Buckminster Fuller:

We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

It reminded me of the dichotomy of types of work presented by Bertrand Russell, in ‘In praise of idleness’:

Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e., of advertising.

What’s this taxonomy good for? Russell’s purpose here is to show the absurdity of work as such. And it certainly is absurd if conceived materialistically, without any reference to values, as he does here. His aim is to denigrate industriousness. And politics too.

Here’s something else, icy’s formulation of two kinds of jobs:

671. What must be understood about the subject of “jobs” before any further discussion can begin on the subject is that there are two types of job: the one that you create yourself, and the one that others offer you, and it is always the latter type that subhumans mean whenever they use that word. But in order for the latter type to exist, the former must have originally created it (since “jobs” do not exactly grow on trees in the jungle by themselves now do they). Translated from Subhuman, “We need more jobs” means “We need more innovative, daring individuals to risk their lives’ savings (or borrow from banks by placing their property as collateral at the risk of losing everything and even going to prison) to launch mankind on new, daring and untried paths, and advertise whatever secondary subservient roles they might have for us under their tutelage and protection”.

 

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