"Though I would support the idea of a 30-hour workweek in some circumstances, I see nothing absolute or indisputable about it. It can be proposed as a universal need only after abandonment of any respect for vocation and the replacement of discourse by slogans. It is true that the industrialization of virtually all forms of production and service has filled the world with “jobs” that are meaningless, demeaning, and boring—as well as inherently destructive. I don’t think there is a good argument for the existence of such work, and I wish for its elimination, but even its reduction calls for economic changes not yet defined, let alone advocated, by the “left” or the “right.” Neither side, so far as I know, has produced a reliable distinction between good work and bad work. To shorten the “official workweek” while consenting to the continuation of bad work is not much of a solution."
Wendell Berry (via azspot)
‘The understandings of the greater part of men,’ says Adam Smith, ‘are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations… has no occasion to exert his understanding… He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.’ After describing the stupidity of the specialized worker, he goes on: ‘The uniformity of his staionary life naturally corrupts the courage of his mind… It corrupts even the activity of his body and renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigour and perseverance in any other employments than that to which he has been bred. His dexterity at his own particular trade seems in this manner to be acquired at the expense of his intellectual, social, and martial values. But in every improved and civilized society, this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall.’
Karl Marx quoting Adam Smith in Capital, Volume 1