Employers and Jobs or Self Reliance and Good Work?

Schumacher pointed out that from the perspective of the employer, work is a bad thing.  It represents a cost.  It is to be minimised.  If possible eradicated – handed over to a robot.  This truth always makes me smile when the government talks of the private sector ‘creating jobs’.

From the perspective of the worker too it is  often a bad thing. What Schumacher called a ‘disutility‘. A temporary but significant sacrifice of ‘leisure and comfort’ for which compensation is earned.

Schumacher pointed toward a Buddhist perspective where work serves three purposes:

  • to provide an opportunity to use and develop potential
  • to join with others in the achievement of a shared task – to provide opportunities for meaningful association
  • to produce the goods and services that are necessary for what he called a ‘becoming existence’

He then went on to say

to organize work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerve-racking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence

What can we do to make sure that more of our work is ‘good work’ and not merely a disutility for which we are compensated?

What products and services do we really need for a ‘becoming existence’.

This for me is the true role of the ‘Social Enterprise’ sector in our economy.  The development of good work.  The enhancement of association and compassion.  To provide a real alternative to the mainstream ‘work as profitable disutility’ philosophy of much (but not all) of the private sector.

And there is no good reason why we should not take sufficient value from our business to lead a ‘becoming existence’ is there?

I’m trying to learn just to die with pride,

Like the birds and the trees and the earth in time

But I’ve got this complex and it makes me fear,

That I’ll die knowing nothing and feeling less.

Hope and Social

Now, anyone for some truly social enterprise?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Chitty, Jason Maher. Jason Maher said: RT @mikechitty: Employers and Jobs or Self Reliance and Good Work?: http://wp.me/pFWuX-6m […]

  2. […] the future.  It is not what they exist to do.  They exist to create profits, not jobs.  For them, jobs represent costs and wherever possible should be cut in pursuit of productivity and profit.  If they can use […]

  3. […] To make sure that the next chapter not only ticks the box in terms of income, but also feeds your soul, contributes something worthwhile.  Includes, at its heart, ‘good work‘. […]

  4. […] This time around the Government needs the private sector to create 2.5 million new jobs if the economy is to recover according to plan. Last time around we ‘created’ 900 000 jobs in business and financial services – and look how that panned out.  But this time the forecasters are saying that business and financial services is likely to shed 300 000 jobs.  I have written before about how the natural instinct of employers is to destroy (or at least off-shore) jobs not create them. […]

  5. […] At the core of this is a recognition that just like it takes a village to raise a child, so it takes a community to raise a successful entrepreneur. We need to build communities that are much more conducive to enterprise which often means cleaning up its reputation, divorcing it from ideology and re-connecting it with concepts such as ‘livelihoods’, ‘community’ and ‘good work‘. […]

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