Tuesday, April 07, 2015


Ever felt like your work is pointless and worthless? David Graeber, Professor of Anthropology at London School of Economics, has suggested that this is true for an increasing number of us - despite the fact that modern technology is so far advanced that John Maynard Keynes' prediction that US and UK workers would be working 15-hour weeks by the end of the twentieth century really should have come true.

Academics are often egotists fond of inventing their own jargon so as to make their theories seem more opaque, but you have to love Graeber for introducing "bullshit jobs" as a technical term. He also deserves credit for the observation that bullshit jobs are generally paid better than jobs that actually benefit other people and contribute to society - a measure of just how fucked up things have become.

Graeber's original article, published in Strike! in 2013, generated a huge amount of debate. In this interview with Salon's Thomas Frank, he expands on some of the ideas and themes, arguing that priorities need to be straightened out and that different types of work should be revalued.

(Thanks to Ian and Simon for the links.)

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