For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

References for Theme: Russell Citations

  • Russell, Bertrand
    • Roads to Freedom (1918)
      (p.87) But would the necessary work be done if the individual were assured of the general standard of comfort even though he did no work?Most people will answer this question unhesitatingly in the negative. Those employers in particular who are in the habit of denouncing their employes as a set of lazy, drunken louts, will feel quite certain that no work could be got out of them except under threat of dismissal and consequent starvation. But is this as certain as people are inclined to sup- pose at first sight? If work were to remain what most work is now, no...
    • Roads to Freedom (1918)
      (p.89) But, it will be said, the sort of work that a man would voluntarily choose must always be exceptional; the great bulk of necessary work can never be anything but painful. Who would choose, if an easy life were otherwise open to him, to be a coal-miner, or a stoker on an Atlantic liner? I think it must be conceded that much necessary work must always remain disagreeable or at least painfully monotonous, and that special privileges will have to be accorded to those who undertake it, if the Anarchist system is ever to be made workable. It is true...
    • In Praise of Idleness: A Timeless Essay (2018)
      what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind...
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