Work/Activity

 


 

[1895]  Gustave Le Bon,  Psychologie des foules, Quadrige/Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1998

-  "... le dernier des bourgeois ne voit pour ses fils d'autre carrière possible que les fonctions salariées par l'Etat. Au lieu de préparer des hommes pour la vie, l'école ne les prépare qu'à des fonctions publiques où la réussite n'exige aucune lueur d'initiative." (p. 53)

 

[1906]  Piotr Kropotkin,  The Conquest of Bread, Elephant Editions, London, 1990

-  "No more of such vague formulas as 'The right to work', or 'To each the whole result of his labour'. What we proclaim is THE RIGHT TO WELL-BEING : WELL-BEING FOR ALL!" (p. 34)

-  "The 'right to well-being' means the possibility of living like human beings, and of bringing up children to be members of a society better than ours, whilst the 'right to work' only means the right to be always a wage-slave, a drudge, ruled over and exploited by the middle class of the future. The right to well-being is the Social Revolution, the right to work means nothing but the Treadmill of Commercialism." (p. 44)

-  The aim is that of "PRODUCING THE GREATEST AMOUNT OF GOODS NECESSARY TO THE WELL-BEING OF ALL, WITH THE LEAST POSSIBLE WASTE OF HUMAN ENERGY." (p. 103)

-  "Well-being - that is to say, the satisfaction of physical, artistic, and moral needs, has always been the most powerful stimulant to work." (pp. 146-147)

 

[1911]  Gustav Landauer,  For Socialism, Telos Press, St. Louis, 1978

-  "... work that produces harmful, useless and worthless things; work that produces nothing and is done only for the gawkers to see. Many things today are called work; today everything that brings in money is called work." (p. 127)

 

[1950]  Alex Comfort,  Authority and Delinquency in the Modern State. A criminological approach to the problem of power, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1950

-  "Many of the presuppositions of our culture are traceable to the belief that no man will work without the sanction of poverty, exactly as its politics assume that no man will be sociable except under pressure." (p. 96)

 

[1950]  Louis Fisher in, VV. AA.,  The God that failed, six studies in communism, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1950

-  "The Kremlin decreed equality 'a bourgeois virtue'. It certainly was not a Soviet virtue. The spread between the richest and poorest reached super-capitalist dimensions. Piece-work for labour was now universal and the tradeunions became paper organizations while the directors of factories and offices became 'sole commanders' who hired, fired, and fixed wages." (p. 214)

 

[1962]  Milton Friedman with the assistance of Rose D. Friedman,  Capitalism and Freedom, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1982

-  "Licensure is a special case of a much more general and exceedingly widespread phenomenon, namely, edicts that individuals may not engage in particular economic activities except under conditions laid down by a constituted authority of the state. Medieval guilds were a particular example of an explicit system for specifying which individual should be permitted to follow particular pursuits. The Indian caste system is another example. To a considerable extent in the caste system, to a lesser extent in the guilds, the restriction were enforced by general social customs rather than explicitly by government." (p. 138)

-  "Licensure therefore frequently establishes essentially the medieval guild kind of regulation in which the state assigns power to the members of the profession." (p. 141)

-  "It is important to distinguish three different levels of control : first, registration; second, certification; third, licensing.
-  By registration, I mean an arrangement under which individuals are required to list their names in some official register if they engage in certain kinds of activities.
-  The second level is certification. The governmental agency may certify that an individual has certain skills but may not prevent, in any way, the practice of any occupation using these skills by people who do not have such a certificate.
-  The third stage is licensing proper. This is an arrangement under which one must obtain a licence from a recognized authority in order to engage in the occupation." (pp. 144-145)

-  "If the argument is that we are too ignorant to judge good practitioners, all that is needed is to make the relevant information available. If, in full knowledge, we still want to go to someone who is not certified, that is our business; we cannot complain that we did not have the information. Since arguments for licensure made by people who are not members of the occupation can be satisfied so fully by certification, I personally find it difficult to see any case for which licensure rather than certification can be justified." (p. 149)

 

[1968]  Quelle université? Quelle societé? Textes réunis par le centre de regroupement des information universitaires, Seuil, Paris, 1968

-  "La division travail-loisirs, pointe ultime du progrès de notre civilisation est l'indice de la profondeur de notre aliénation. Le travail est alors pur labeur et vécu, conçu et effectué comme une nécessité.  Le loisir devient alors la 'figure' artificielle de la liberté, celle-ci devenant immédiatement une nécessité nouvelle destiné à compenser le 'travail-nécessité'."
-  "Dire que l'homme doit travailler pour 'vivre', c'est accepter que le travail soit coupé de la vie, c'est accepter aussi tout le cortège des aliénations qu'implique un devoir, une nécessité qui ne serait pas humaine."
-  "Le travail libéré de ses aliénations est naturel, libre socialement, humain enfin, puisque l'homme seul travaille. Il n'est plus labeur. Il est activité de l'homme comme expression de son humanité individuelle et sociale." (pp. 154-155)

 

[1988]  Shoshana Zuboff,  In the Age of the Smart Machine. The future of work and power, Heinemann, Oxford, 1988

-  "The new technology signals the transposition of work activities to the abstract domain of information. Toil no longer implies physical depletion. 'Work' becomes the manipulation of symbols, and when this occurs, the nature of skill is redefined." (p. 23)

-  From an interview with a manager : "There is just so much going on here that we call 'work' but that you can't see. You can look busy and not be doing a damn thing. If someone is productive, they are asking questions, interested, and inquisitive." (p. 296)

-  "As work becomes computer mediated, it is difficult to distinguish responsibility from the work itself. Much of what now constitutes 'work' involves the mindfulness and intellective effort for continual responsiveness at the interface." (p. 296)

-  "... the capacity to comprehend and react to data becomes the essence of work." (pp. 296-297)

-  "Life at the data interface invites the worker into the abstract precincts of managerial work. It provides access to a broader view of the business as well as a deepened understanding of one's tasks and their role in the wider sphere of organizational functions. When work becomes synonymous with responsiveness to data, it engenders inquiry and dialogue, thus opening the way for workers to envision new possibilities and fresh alternatives to the reigning definitions of process, product, and organization." (pp. 301-302)

-  "Learning is no longer a separate activity that occurs either before one enters the work-place or in remote classroom settings. Nor is it an activity preserved for a managerial group. The behaviors that define learning and the behaviors that define being productive are one and the same. Learning is not something that requires time out from being engaged in productive activity; learning is the hearth of productive activity. To put it simply, learning is the new form of labor." (p. 395)

 

[1999]  Louis Bériot,  Abus de Bien Public. Enquête sur les milliards gaspillés par l'Etat. Les chiffres, les preuves, les responsables, Plon, Paris, 1999

-  "Au début du siècle, plus de quatre Français sur cinq étaient «maîtres » de leur destin, agriculteurs, commerçants, artisans, avocats, médecins; aujourd'hui, c'est exactement l'inverse, quatre personnes sur cinq sont salariées et dépendent des autres pour travailler, percevoir  une rémunération, faire bouillir leur marmite." (p. 158)