Work and Unemployment


  • Harry Braverman



Political Economy, Labor


The notion that all work, by its very nature, is and has been from time immemorial degraded and degrading is an article of faith with many of the modern sociologists-of-work. It is generally presented and defended on the basis of a few scraps of badly digested Greek, Latin, and Hebrew philology put together by an Italian scholar by the name of Adrian Tilgher, whose book is often used, with or without credit, to make up the first few pages of standard texts on the subject. In these texts, the hatred of work in its modern form is projected backward into all societies and all civilizations, not in order to better analyze the subject, but in order to dissolve it in generalities, badly misunderstood ancient attitudes, and highly selective citations. The many expressions of the pleasurability and naturalness of work as a life activity find no place in these pages, which rather prefer to single out certain Biblical laments.

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