Willing Slaves

In the late 18th and all through the 19th centuries, the great project of industrialisation was to take a nation of strong-willed and independent agricultural workers and transform them into docile wage slaves. The two principal methods used by those at the top were fear of God and fear of hunger.


These days, our freedom consists of little more than deciding between Asda and Sainsbury’s, Ford and Vauxhall, Stella and Foster’s.


So if it is true that work is a gigantic con trick that we are now waking up to, the question remains: if we dismantle the job system, then what do we replace it with? How do we live?

One answer is to live well on less. If we do not desire the panoply of products that are sold to us each day, then we will not have such a voracious appetite for money. Less money means less work. Less work means more freedom to do our own work or do what we want to do.

From a really old book review by Tom Hodgkinson. It’s great.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at www.wringham.co.uk/about.

2 Responses to “Willing Slaves”

  1. Bev says:

    And now with globalisation, workers are meant to be insecure and competing against each other for worse and worse working conditions. As a parent of a teenager, my great challenge is to try to help her cut through the crap and spin and brainwashing that’s everywhere. And let’s not forget how debt and especially student debt are designed so folks forge their own shackles. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to present an alternative that doesn’t look like poverty.

  2. Yep. And then there’s that new circle of hell: unpaid internships.

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