In my recent Leisure Society post, I explored John Maynard Keynes idea of 15 hour workweeks and why we haven’t managed to cut back our work hours over the last century. The fundamental question is whether or not having a job is still a necessary part of the human condition. The idea of employment is only a few centuries old, and I believe it’s outliving it’s usefulness. We are already seeing a shift to higher levels of permanent, structural unemployment and this is only the beginning. Are we still going to have jobs in the future?
What is Work?
One of the key issues is how the word ‘work’ is defined. If you follow Tim Ferris of the Four Hour Workweek you might be tempted to believe that if your occupation is fun, then it’s not work anymore. This definition is brilliant marketing that made Tim Ferris famous, however, judging by all that he accomplishes, it’s clear that puts in a lot more than 4 hours per week. That’s work no matter how much he enjoys it.
At the other extreme is the idea that any directed effort is work.This would include cleaning your house, raising children, washing your car …