Fuck Work!

A man after my own heart. Give us back the land you stole from us and we’ll look after ourselves – or if you stole us (as in the case of African Americans) the 40 acres and a mule you promised us.


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James Livingston says “fuck work”! That was the original title of the book that now appears as No More Work: Why Full Employment Is A Bad Idea (2016).

 For centuries we have believed that work is where we build character, and that the labor market allocates incomes more or less rationally. These beliefs have become delusions. What then? Why do we hold fast to full employment as the cure for what ails us, and retain faith in the labor market’s efficiencies?

Livingston is Professor of History at Rutgers., and delivered this lecture at the University of Pittsburgh on March 18, 2017 as part of boundary 2’s conference, “Neoliberalism, Its Ontology and Genealogy”:

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11 thoughts on “Fuck Work!

  1. I’m with dude! “Fuck work!” They expect us to drop dead at our desks, thereby giving up the best years of our lives to the daily grind and for what? A $1,000 Social Security check? My dad never did see a dime of Social Security because he dropped dead before he could collect it and the sad fact is that work was so ingrained in him that he was working right up until the day of his cancer diagnosis and he still tried to go to work, but chemo put paid to that.

    There is a commercial that comes on and a woman is saying, “I’m in my 60s and I’ve got a long life ahead of me and blah blah chop chop…! She cannot be serious! If you’ve lived to be in your 60s, the best you can hope for is another 15 years. Your ‘long life’ period is over. They continuously play mind games with us with subtle suggestions that we’re not really old, we’ve just begun living life when we’re in our 60s. And people are starting to wake up and realize that life is not just starting when they are in their 60s, hence the reason so many are becoming expats and are getting out of the states. I am still considering doing this. I’ve just got to figure out where the hell I want to go before it’s too late. But I certainly won’t wait around for them to get around to handing me that forty acres and a mule.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shelby, here in New Plymouth, I’ve had two friends who only experienced real happiness after they developed terminal cancer – because it meant they could stop working at jobs they detested. Now how sad is that? My father’s sister was in the same situation as your father – she dropped dead the month she turned 65 and never collected a penny of Social Security. In my own case the great thing about being retired is that for the first time in my life I feel I’m doing something of real value to society.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now that, is SO very sad, Dr. Bramhall! I truly feel for those two friends of yours. It should not have had to come down to that; a diagnosis of cancer for them to find happiness in not having to work like dogs until they drop.

        Why we cannot figure out that we all should just not go to work is a complete mystery to me. What the hell could they do? I would so love to see that, but the sad fact is, people have been brainwashed into believing that that’s the only way to live and that ain’t living at all.

        And I’m with you Dr. Bramhall, I don’t have to work anymore and I figure I put my time in by working my ass to death; working two jobs for decades just so I wouldn’t have to fall down dead at my desk. Plus, I am so thankful that I no longer have to put up with workplace shit, you have no idea.

        “Good on us,” I say!


    • Excellent point, Gerard, about work being unhealthy. You have all these ads and articles urging people to reduce the stress in their life (and making out there’s something wrong for experiencing it). The vast majority of the stress people experience relates to the shitty way they’re treated and work and/or the financial stress of not being paid enough to look after themselves and their families.


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