For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The work ethic-then and now"

by Lipset, Seymour Martin (1990)

Abstract

Beliefs about the work ethic vary over time and place. The idea that people should work hard because doing so is virtuous, because it advances the common good, or even because it lets them accumulate wealth is a relatively recent one. Since work is difficult, the question is not why people shirk their responsibilities, but why they work hard in the absence of compulsion. The ancient history of the human race attests to the inherent disdain for work. While the Protestant work ethic may have motivated much of the population to work hard …

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