Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Creating Livable Alternatives to Wage Slavery
Pirated from

Are we "anti-work"? No, it's not that simple. We are pro-leisure, and we think leisure has gotten a bad rap in societies driven by the Protestant/Puritan work ethic...but the best answer to the question of whether we are anti-work depends on how you define the word "work".

Paraphrasing Tony Gibson, we can define work simply as the expenditure of energy in a productive process, and leisure as the expenditure of energy without productive result. We're not saying one is good and the other bad - they're just two ways of being. We are not against being productive and we recognize the satisfaction that can result from being engaged in productive activity of one's own choosing. (Hey, we put together this Web site, didn't we?) So we aren't anti-work in this sense.

But we are critical of the mindset (supported, as it were, by social norms, government policies and collective fears of poverty) that results in people working against their will, and believing there is no other way to "survive". This results in taking jobs out of joyless obligation, need for money, coercion, or a desire to "get ahead" in some sort of competitive social status or consumer game, for example. We think such a mindset is at the root of many, many otherwise solvable social, economic, and environmental problems.

But many people today don't use the kind of simple, non-judgmental definition above. Many of us think of work not just as effort expended in a productive process, but as a "necessary evil" - in other words, work is what we have to do so we can support ourselves. If your concept of work is drudgery, if you think of your job as something you'd rather not do if it weren't for the money, if you simply can't wait to retire so you can "enjoy life" - that kind of thinking is what we define as wage slavery, and we seek to abolish it.

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