I teach several sociology courses in my department’s “economy, work and development” concentrations, and I have assigned James Livingston’s books, blogs and articles to the students in those classes. Rarely do readings polarize my students’ responses as much as Livingston’s do. But the students’ disagreements do not revolve around the issues that Paul Jorion lays out in his preface. No one has yet been bothered by the question of whether Livingston’s argument boils down to sour grapes now that work is disappearing or the premise that we were stupid to have ever loved work. To my view, these are not exactly the two options, and they aren’t mutually exclusive anyway. In fact, I think Livingston has argued that work is an abomination, and we should never have learned to love it, and now that there is not enough work we should wake up and embrace our dis-employment and spend our time loving each other. Besides, it does not matter how we each feel about work, individually; it matters how we feel about it as societies, as cultures. Regardless, this is not the problem my students have had with No More Work. Instead, they focus largely on two questions that Livingston’s book does not, in their minds, adequately address, and many of them conclude that while it is fun to read—”energizing”, as Jorion says—its ideas are “unrealistic.” (The fact that...Read More
Author: Karen Foster
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