Rollin' Like Sisyphus

The Lost Art Of An Honest Day’s Work

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on October 10, 2014

It never ends well.

Works and Days.


For all the kvetching about the value of labor, very little is actually placed in the pursuit anymore. To a degree, this is due to the corruption of the relationship between labor, the product of labor, and the compensation exchanged for the time it takes to perform labor.
In the old paradigm, the end goal was the paramount concern – shoe the horses, tend the fields, forge the metalwork – whatever the trade, you could usually draw a clear line between the labor and its product, but only the product had value.
The problem today is that only the last part of that is still true – the value is inherent in the result, not the process. If you’re a shitty blacksmith, it doesn’t matter how much effort you exert or how long you spend forging your metalwork; if no one wants to buy it, you starve. If a lot of people want to buy it, you take on an apprentice.
With as many checkpoints as there are now between a body and the tangible results of his labor, it doesn’t take a long-winding exegesis to describe how fewer and fewer people regard the concept of a work ethic as anything more than a quaint relic of days gone by – you know, among the ones that can still read. The concept of a work ethic, while easily conflated with the labor theory of value by the unique brand of dullards produced by the stamp mill of 21st century American academia, the two concepts couldn’t exist any farther apart on the spectrum of Things Academics Always Get Wrong.
While there are obviously numerous differences between the two, it mainly boils down to the distinction between efficiency and expediency. True efficiency is honed through careful trial and error, while expediency is all about simplifying the immediate obstacles to reach the day’s finish line and punch out the clock.
Which one do you think pays dividends in the end?
I guess it doesn’t matter, though, because robots and software will be doing all of the jobs soon, even those of the cushy white-collar cubicle farm dwellers.
That’s when the fun begins.

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