Way back in 1930, Keynes had made a prediction. People would work just 15 hours per week and would have far more leisure as their material needs were satisfied. We have moved in the opposite direction. Today’s needull is a review of the book “The Refusal of Work: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work, by David Frayne”. This needull has some interesting points on the nature of work itself.
If ever a book was designed to help you question the value of the work ethic and look anew at our modern obsession with productivity and promotion, this is it. Frayne has accomplished something worthy of admiration. He has written the best primer and introduction to the anti-work philosophy; a fascinating ethnography of people who actively try to resist work; and has married this to some original and provocative insights into the contemporary workplace. What’s more, he has done all this without resorting to the stodgy, jargon-laden prose that is common among left-wing critics of work. It is all conveyed in a fluid and assured manner.
The book is very much of two halves. The first half is the provocation: the invitation to the reader to look at work with a more critical eye. The second half is the ethnography: insights culled from Frayne’s experiences of interviewing and living with people who actively resist work in the United Kingdom. The two halves are held together by a common set of themes and capped off with a concluding chapter that represents something of a ‘call to arms’.