David Graeber. Picture credit to: RSA.

David Graeber, a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics, has recently published a new book “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory”. This book is an investigation of his ideas previously outlined in an article written in Strike! Magazine in 2013, where he posits the existence of ‘bullshit jobs’, jobs that are primarily or entirely made up of tasks which the person doing them considers to be pointless, unnecessary or even pernicious, being secretly aware of this. He also argues that these bullshit jobs have been created just for the sake of keeping us all working.

 

In the book, the author outlines how bullshit jobs came to be about and how they turned out to be so prolific, investigating their psychological and political effects. Towards the end of the book, the author suggests giving people a basic income, one that is sufficient to live on, as a potential solution to this phenomenon. This, it is argued, would detach livelihood from work, allowing people to work when they want to, in what they wished, or even not at all. This would mean that people could choose not to take on bullshit jobs, which, assuming the former wanted to do something more meaningful with their lives, would lead to the elimination of the latter.

 

David Graeber, “Bullshit jobs – A theory”, Simon & Schuster, May 2018

 

More information at:

Eliane Glaser, “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber review – the myth of capitalist efficiency”, The Guardian, May 25th 2018

About Hannah Trippier

Hannah Trippier has written 6 articles.