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Debates on the centrality of work

"Developing an Understanding of Meaningful Work in Economics: The Case for a Heterodox Economics of Work"

by Spencer, David A (2015)


The idea that work has meaning and is meaningful beyond its contribution to consumption has been largely absent from mainstream economics. This paper gives reasons for why mainstream economics has neglected the idea of meaningful work. It identifies the idea of the disutility of work, the assumption of free choice on the part of workers and the use of a formal and individualistic method as key constraints on the ability of mainstream economics to incorporate the idea of meaningful work. It also addresses the contribution of happiness economics and shows how it is unable to encompass the idea of meaningful work. Ideas on work from heterodox economics are then discussed. These ideas provide essential insight and inspiration for the incorporation of the idea of meaningful work into the economics of work. In all respects, the paper seeks to contribute towards the development and promotion of a heterodox economics of work that has the goal of meaningful work at its centre.


Meaningful Work, Meaning Of Work, Well-Being, Psychology, Economics, Heterodox Economics


Meaningful Work

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