Love Thy Labor
Two books explore the individual and cultural meanings of work
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
by Alain De Botton
$26.00 List Price
If work were a good thing, the rich would have found a way of keeping it to themselves." This Haitian saying is an evergreen response to evangelists preaching the moral virtues of hard work. But in times of high unemployment, any kind of work is a lifeline, and managers hardly need resort to gospel to suck extra effort from those who are hanging on to a paycheck. The number of monthly layoffs is still elevated, and a prolonged season of chronic joblessness looks to be a certain outcome of this recession. Putting food on the table will be the top priority in the coming years, and it will seem graceless, under these dire circumstances, to be debating the nature, let alone the ethics, of work. Who would dare quibble about the quality of employment when work itself is so scarce on the ground?
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