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October 7, 2021

Why so many people work “bullshit jobs,” with James Suzman
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Up next ►► How to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have | Aaron Hurst youtu.be/H54vh7UI3_I

The society is fixated on working. Some of work 80 hours per week at jobs that don’t fulfill simply for work's sake. Expert anthropologists, such as James Suzman, even go as far as to say that many of the jobs we work could be considered "bullshit jobs" - a complex job that is not entirely needed in the workforce. These jobs are created and executed because the culture, and lifestyle, are organized around the 8-hour workday.

So why do we work "bullshit jobs?" Many economists would say it is to fix the problem of scarcity. But what many do not know is that in the society, we passed the scarcity threshold in 1980, and most everyone has their basic needs met. So much so that more food goes into the landfills than goes into the stomachs. If scarcity is no longer an issue, why are we still working over 40 hours per week? It's because people have a humane instinct to work and be productive.

If the 40-hour workweek is no longer serving the society, could we be approaching a new economic utopia? Suzman thinks so. In the present day, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers are turning away from unfulfilling jobs and diving headfirst into their hobbies - cooking, writing, painting, and creating. If we keep on this path, the entire economic system is bound to change, making for a richer world where everyone does the work they want to be doing.

Read the video transcript: bigthink.com/videos/bullshit-jobs/


About James Suzman:

James Suzman, Phd is an anthropologist specializing in the Khoisan peoples of southern Africa. A former Smuts Fellow in African Studies at the University of Cambridge, he is now the director of Anthropos Ltd., a think tank that applies anthropological methods to solving contemporary social and economic problems.


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