you heard that a lot in the 1970s, 80s, even 90s: “What do I really want?” Now, not so much. Most graduates are in a panic over how they’re going to pay their student loans and the real dilemma you hear is: “Can I get a job that will actually pay me enough to live on
Populism, pointless work and panicked youth: an interview with David Graeber of LSE
Not since Dilbert has truth been spoken to power in soulless work settings. But the cartoon character’s successor may be David Graeber. In 2013 he achieved viral fame with cubicle zombies everywhere after he published a short essay on the prevalence of work that had no social or economic reason to exist, which he called “bullshit jobs”. The wide attention seemed to confirm his thesis.
Mr Graeber, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics, has expanded on the ideas in a recentbook. He responded to five questions fromThe Economist’sOpen Future initiative. He rails against “feudal retinues of basically useless flunkies.” As he puts it: “People want to feel they are transforming the world around them in a way that makes some kind a positive difference.”
The Economist:What is a “bullshit job”…
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