David Graeber Jobs Are Meaningless And Pointless

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David Graeber Jobs Are Meaningless And Pointless

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[David Graeber Jobs Are Meaningless And Pointless]

Now if that back to work on Monday morning feeling it wasn’t a depressing enough this week London commuters were faced with a series of posters attacking the working nation for having so-called pointless jobs, inspiration for these posters came from a piece of academic writing by David Graeber. He’s a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics and he joins me now.

Hello. Well are you surprised by this reaction?

[David Graeber:] Source: LYBIO.net
Mildly, I mean I woke up in the morning and someone told me that that people had gone out and put things all over the tube, but I really knew nothing about it in advance.

[Interviewer:]
Why do you think it has struck such a chord, such a reaction?

[David Graeber:]
Why, I’ve never written anything that struck such a chord, and it’s interesting because the pieces it was based on a kind of an intuition. I keep meeting people who talk about how meaningless and pointless their jobs are and they will say, well you don’t really want to know what I do because to tell you the truth I don’t really do anything, I mean don’t tell my boss. You know – and I hear this over and over again. And I thought about it and I thought you know this is something nobody talks about. There’s millions and millions of people who secretly feel their jobs shouldn’t exist.

[Interviewer:]
But are they right?

[David Graeber:]
Well who would know better than they.

[Interviewer:]
But has a job always historically been meaningless? Surely…

[David Graeber:]
Well most jobs certainly not – most jobs I mean are still meaningfully they do something, but I think what’s happened over the course of the last century or so, mechanization has actually eliminated a lot more jobs than we really think it has. Somehow we have all this technology, but people are actually working more hours rather than less, and this is where I want to understand I is – because if you look at it in the 1930s say, well almost all those manufacturing jobs have vanished, almost all the domestic services jobs, the farming jobs have all gone. Yet somehow service administrative and clerical jobs have tripled. We have three times as many people pushing papers as we did then and yet we didn’t have computer.

[Interviewer:]
Exactly. We got the computers and [Kane] actually said, that the result of technology, we’ll be down to a three-day working week, but it’s obviously wrong.

[David Graeber:]
It’s quite possible technologically we could do that if we were still allocating the jobs the way they were in 1930s. So why have we effectively made up these jobs, who you think about it there’s a whole industry, we don’t really need to exist, we don’t really need telemarketers, we don’t really need lobbyists.

[Interviewer:] Source: LYBIO.net
It doesn’t make sense to make up, so surely economically those jobs are necessary.

[David Graeber:]
Well, this is what fascinates me right, because in theory this is exactly what shouldn’t happen under a competitive capitalist economy. You know we always used to make fun of the old Soviet Union because they make up these jobs because they had an ideal for employment. Yet if corporations seem to be doing exactly the same thing, and you’d think the last thing they would do is to hire people who don’t do anything, but then if you talk to people in the corporation they say well I explained to my boss that my job was unnecessary, and he said don’t tell anybody I need to have more people under me to be more important because there are all these internal mechanisms. And there’s all these people like you know I am the East Coast strategic vision manager of – and if you talk to the people, if you get them drunk they’ll say — I just go to meetings and write reports.

[Interviewer:]
But of course, there are plenty of people who do regard themselves of having very important positions, but actually make no impact on society or whatsoever.

[David Graeber:]
You could say it, but I I’m not here to tell anybody who feels their job is important, that they’re wrong. I’m here to talk to those people who actually feel their jobs aren’t meaningful and are suffering inside.

[Interviewer:]
That’s interesting, you said suffering inside, does that actually mean if my job is not really has any meaning does that mean I have jobs dissatisfaction.

[David Graeber:]
Well I mean I think I’ve heard something by Fyodor Dostoyevsky when he was in a prison camp and he said: if you want to completely destroy people psychologically, just have them move a rock from one side of the road to the other and then move it back again all day long, or fill pitchers of water, or do something they know is absolutely pointless. Before long, it will just, its just like the worst torture. They will do anything to make it stop.

[Interviewer:]
Well that’s make an interesting point because some people just be bored if they didn’t have a job. So if you set an ideal world, if we think our jobs are meaningless, we don’t want to go to work, actually a lot of people be hanging around thinking I need something to do.

[David Graeber:]
Well, if you just let people to do whatever they wanted, I’m convinced of this. They would probably come up with more meaningful and useful things to do of their time then the current system is allocating them. I mean nobody would say I want to be an East Coast Strategic Vision Manager, you know I want to be a Human Resource Consultant, they’d come up with some – maybe they’d write poetry, maybe they would form a band, but ultimately the benefit to humanity almost certainly be better than the way we have allocating make work jobs better.

[Interviewer:]
There is a benefit having a job is earning money?

[David Graeber:]
Well you see that’s the problem. I am personally I’m in favor of a basic income solution I think that’s probably the best idea. I think if we just gave people money to say you know – here is 30,000 pounds for everybody you decide what to do. People – first of all you’d have less parasites that you have now. And second of all you’d have more – people would come up with more interesting things.

[Interviewer:]
Now you’re a professor of anthropology and your article clearly has caused a stir, but do you think it’s really created sort some relevant social conclusion do you think you think you’ve come up with…

[David Graeber:]
I think I started the conversation. And actually I was really shocked, as I say it was a hypothesis I met people like this, you know I have never done a statistical analysis. I don’t know how many there are out there. So I put out this piece and it come on a relatively obscure publication within a week it had been translated into 20 different languages, and I was getting these notes from people saying I’ve got it three times at my desk in the financial service industry and it is just passing it around, the very fact that people had time to read this thing tells you something what that is.

[Interviewer:]
So you just briefly then you can conclude your job isn’t a waste of time?

[David Graeber:]
Mine? Well, let me ask my students they would know. They seem to like me well enough. I think teaching is a job that you know – I mean I ranked my jobs, I said, jobs in a way by, what would happen if they all disappeared. You know if all garbage collectors or nurses we’d be in trouble. If all teachers vanished, clearly the world would be a lesser place, would be a problem in time. And that seems true of science fiction writers or musicians, or you know maybe we don’t need them. Obviously, world of with them and it is a nicer place. Now you know it’s hard to imagine how a financial CEO is in that same category, if they were to all vanish, would we suffer or would the world be a better place?

[Interviewer:] Source: LYBIO.net
That’s Professor David Graeber. Thank you very much indeed for joining us here.

[David Graeber:]
Thanks.

David Graeber Jobs Are Meaningless And Pointless

David Graeber Jobs Are Meaningless And Pointless

David Graeber Jobs Are Meaningless And Pointless. People who talk about how meaningless and pointless their jobs are. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.

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