Work means different things to different people: an economic necessity, a source of self-fulfillment, a status symbol or all of the above. Yet up until recently, few Westerners have questioned the value or necessity of work itself. This is now changing, as Andy Beckett explains in his article for The Guardian. He gives voice to a growing number of intellectuals and political activists who think that our work-centric society is becoming obsolete. In outlining some main lines of thinking within the emerging post-work movement, Beckett provides much food for thought for anybody interested in the future of work.
On 1 May 1979, one of the greatest champions of the modern work culture, Margaret Thatcher, made her final campaign speech before being elected prime minister. She reflected on the nature of change in politics and society. “The heresies of one period,” she said, always become “the orthodoxies of the next”.