No More Work: Why Full Employment Is a Bad Idea

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UNC Press Books, Oct 28, 2016 - Business & Economics - 128 pages
For centuries we've believed that work was where you learned discipline, initiative, honesty, self-reliance--in a word, character. A job was also, and not incidentally, the source of your income: if you didn't work, you didn't eat, or else you were stealing from someone. If only you worked hard, you could earn your way and maybe even make something of yourself.

In recent decades, through everyday experience, these beliefs have proven spectacularly false. In this book, James Livingston explains how and why Americans still cling to work as a solution rather than a problem--why it is that both liberals and conservatives announce that "full employment" is their goal when job creation is no longer a feasible solution for any problem, moral or economic. The result is a witty, stirring denunciation of the ways we think about why we labor, exhorting us to imagine a new way of finding meaning, character, and sustenance beyond our workaday world--and showing us that we can afford to leave that world behind.

 

Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Family Assistance Plan and the End of Work
13
2 Labor and the Essence of Man
29
3 Love and Work in the Shadow of the Reformation
45
4 After Work
67
Coda
96
Acknowledgments
105
Notes
109
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About the author (2016)

James Livingston is professor of history at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. He is the author of five other books on topics ranging from the Federal Reserve System to South Park.

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