, I pointed readers to two articles that Claire Wolfe had written about “work” and “jobs” — pleas, basically, that people reconsider their decisions to trade their lives for paychecks and decide instead to aim for a more rewarding and ennobling life. (♇ and )
I’m happy to learn that Wolfe has added to these thoughts in a new book: How to Kill the Job Culture Before it Kills You.
[W]e’ve got to try to perceive, understand, and (I believe) ultimately reject the Job Culture for the sake of our own sanity and our humanity. The Job Culture — a parasite so deeply attached to the culture that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish between the two — is extremely unhealthy for individuals, families, and communities.
And catastrophically — despite intense cultural conditioning that constantly hammers the exact opposite message into our heads — the Job Culture is destructive to freedom, as well.
The Job Culture isn’t just jobs, work, and business institutions. It’s a comprehensive way of life in which millions of people place institutional paid employment at the center of their world.
“What do you do?” is immediately understood to mean, “What kind of paid employment do you have?”
In the Job Culture, family life, recreation, deep personal interests, and desires all must be structured around and subordinated to The Job.
She acknowledges that American libertarianism has, at least in the Ayn Rand era, fetishized corporations, cubicles and CEOs, but she’s eager to try and retake the critique of corporations from the left:
The traditional case against jobs and the Job Culture comes from the left, which warns us of exploited workers, mindless consumerism, and environmental destruction. Meanwhile, the right cheers what it mistakenly calls free enterprise.
But if anybody should rail against the Job Culture and endeavor to bring it down, it should be libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, and true conservatives.…
A true system of free enterprise is one in which the largest number of individuals are free to engage in the widest possible variety of enterprises, in the widest possible variety of ways.
In a system of genuine free enterprise, millions (perhaps even billions) of people could lead highly self-determined lives. Millions of free enterprisers could choose to set their own hours, make products of their own choice, trade with whom they wished, close up shop when they didn’t care to work, bring the kids and dogs into the business, work from home, bring in helpers as needed, follow the rhythms of the seasons, or otherwise structure their own lives as they saw fit.…
Free enterprise isn’t anything like big-corporate capitalism. We’ve been told the two are equivalent, but that’s just another bit of cultural brainwashing.
Think about it. Job holders by definition aren’t capitalists. Job holders, no matter how well paid they might be, function merely as the servants of capitalists, just as medieval serfs functioned as the servants of lords.… They function in a climate of diminished responsibility, diminished risk, and diminished reward. A climate of institutional dependency.…
The daily act of surrendering individual sovereignty — the act of becoming a mere interchangeable cog in a machine — an act we have been conditioned to accept and to call a part of “capitalism” and “free enterprise” when it is not — is the key reason why the present Job Culture is a disaster for freedom.