No More Work
Why Full Employment Is a Bad Idea
University of North Carolina Press
For centuries we’ve believed that work was where you learned discipline, initiative, honesty, self-reliance—in a word, character. A job was also, and not incidentally, the source of your income: if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat, or else you were stealing from someone. If only you worked hard, you could earn your way and maybe even make something of yourself.
In recent decades, through everyday experience, these beliefs have proven spectacularly false. In No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea, historian James Livingston explains how and why Americans still cling to work as a solution rather than a problem—why it is that both liberals and conservatives announce that “full employment” is their goal when job creation is no longer a feasible solution for any problem, moral or economic. The result is a witty, stirring denunciation of the ways we think about why we labor, exhorting us to imagine a new way of finding meaning, character, and sustenance beyond our workaday world—and showing us that we can afford to leave that world behind.
Praise for No More Work
Unrivaled . . . in its audacity and brashness, all in a delightfully amusing little essay that is guaranteed to delight undergrads and provoke them to question their individual collective future. Highly recommended.
No More Work is, wonderfully, at once a rude book and a kind one. Livingston is bracingly impolite about the cult of capitalistic productivity, all in the service of the happiness and pleasure that could be ours if we demanded less toil from ourselves and more justice from our society.
—Benjamin Kunkel, author of Utopia or Bust