Read a very interesting article earlier today (thanks, W).
I’ve long believed that in much of the world there isn’t enough work to go around. The process that keeps the world turning and its people fed and sheltered does not require the entire adult population of Planet Earth to be engaged in a 40-hour working week. This might explain why many of us are employed in jobs that aren’t even vaguely necessary (music, film, writing for its own sake etc.), while many millions more are so tangentially related to what the world ‘needs’ that they/we could die tomorrow, never be replaced and, beyond the circle of their friends and family, no one would notice.
To me, the astronomical bugger of this situation is that we haven’t managed to share out the necessary work amongst us all so that we can live well on ten hours of work a week. As the article points out, we have instead gone in the opposite direction, where we now work much longer hours, tethered permanently to our jobs by technology, contributing little or nothing to to the rest of the human race, or to our own existence. Crucially, many of us are also aware of the pointlessness of our jobs, and that just crushes the soul without you even noticing.
Imagine the improvements that could be made by allowing people to spend more time with their kids, or look after the less able or well off, or take to think of greater ways to nudge humanity forward.
Rather than me paraphrase the rest of the article (written by a professor of anthropology at LSE), give it a read yourself and see if you don’t find yourself nodding away in agreement.
(PS: I don’t think my job is pointless or inconsequential. How about you?)