David Graeber on the Value of Work - RSA

David Graeber on the Value of Work

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  • Work and employment

David Graeber on the Value of Work. Does the world really need neuroadvertisers, PR researchers and branding consultants? Renowned academic and coiner of the ‘we are the 99%’ slogan, David Graeber is a passionate advocate for meaningful work. After famously condemning the 21st century phenomenon of ‘bullsh*t jobs’, in this short animation he investigates the philosophical underpinnings of employment, and calls for a reformulation of what work should be.


Voice: David Graeber
Illustration & animation: Jack Dubben


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  • It's interesting how someone can get so many challengeable generalisations into a 4-minute video!

    The big unanswered - indeed unasked - question in the video is, if the value in meaningful work is all about caring for other human beings, how as a society do you create the value to pay the wages and fund the infrastructure needed to do this? Is there no meaningful work outside of being doctors,nurses, teachers and social workers? 

    It's a narrow view that seems based on dependency: needing enough recipients of care to sustain employment, and jobs in paternalistic institutions dispensing care.. How about an approach that emphasises self-reliance and innovation as core values too? These will be greatly needed in the future society and world of work we are moving into.

    BTW, viewing everything through the prism of the tiny minority involved in the 'Occupy' movement is to see work and society through a very distorting lens - not a great starting point for thinking about the future of work or meaningful work, I feel. 

  • Thank you for the good sight. I'm  thinking of meaning of my job and this video clip can help me find  answers.

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