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Wendell Berry's letter to The Progressive on Work via Utne Reader

This article is printed here courtesy of The Progressive , where it originally appeared as a letter to the editor in response to the article Less Work, More Life.”

The Progressive, in the September issue, both in Matthew Rothschild’s “Editor’s Note” and in the article by John de Graaf (“Less Work, More Life”), offers “less work” and a 30-hour workweek as needs that are as indisputable as the need to eat.

Though I would support the idea of a 30-hour workweek in some circumstances, I see nothing absolute or indisputable about it. It can be proposed as a universal need only after abandonment of any respect for vocation and the replacement of discourse by slogans.

It is true that the industrialization of virtually all forms of production and service has filled the world with “jobs” that are meaningless, demeaning, and boring—as well as inherently destructive. I don’t think there is a good argument for the existence of such work, and I wish for its elimination, but even its reduction calls for economic changes not yet defined, let alone advocated, by the “left” or the “right.” Neither side, so far as I know, has produced a reliable distinction between good work and bad work. To shorten the “official workweek” while consenting to the continuation of bad work is not much of a solution.



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As we approach a new age it has been foretold by Maitreya that man will work less and have more free time to spend in creative endeavors;
"In an age of competition the old adage holds. Work alone confers the right to eat. But man is ready to experience a new relationship; a new and caring cooperation beckons him to be his brother's keeper and to safeguard the right of all to the necessities of life.
More and more, machines will free men to be themselves. Leisure will ensure that each man can reach his full potential, reflective of his stage upon the journey to perfection, adding his gifts for the enrichment of the Whole."
From Share International Magazine

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