I resemble this remark: “Idlers of the world unite.”


It’s the perfect read while on holiday.

Idlers of the world unite: Why the work ethic needs to be resisted, by Joe Humphreys (The Irish Times)

Unthinkable: The problems of modern labour call for a ‘collective and structural solution’, says David Frayne

The myth of the modern workplace is that new technology and an increasingly educated workforce is redefining labour for the better. Monotonous, manual work can be done by machines, freeing humans up to do creative, value-added, entrepreneurial activities. So we’re told.

The truth is there has been an explosion in what anthropologist David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs”. The knowledge economy compels us to communicate more – even when we want to switch off. And, as individuals come under pressure to stand out from the crowd, there emerges what sociologist David Frayne calls a “culture of gratitude” where labour is given without charge in return for “profile” or imagined networking benefits.

“In this hyper-competitive context,” he writes, “it has almost become a matter of bad taste to fuss about issues like contracts, payment, and working conditions. You should just be grateful to have an opportunity in the first place.”

Frayne has mapped these modern changes to the labour market in his book The Refusal of Work, which his part sociological study and part polemic. Valiantly, he takes up where the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson and Bertrand Russell left off in offering a defence for the dosser.