Publication Details

Beder, S, Selling the Work Ethic, World Review, 4(4), 2001, 36-38.


[Extract] In modern industrial societies work and production have become ends in themselves. Employment has become such a priority that much environmental degradation is justified merely on the grounds that it provides jobs. And people are so concerned to keep their jobs that they are willing to do what their employers require of them even if they believe it is wrong or environmentally destructive. The social benefit of having the majority of ablebodied people in a society working hard all week goes unquestioned, particularly by those who work hardest. Few people today can imagine a society that does not revolve around work. They never stop to consider why they work and whether they want to work. Work is seen as an essential characteristic of being human. No matter how tedious it is, any work is generally considered to be better than no work. Work has become central to our individual identity and a means of fulfilling our social aspirations.