Do you ever get the feeling that office work makes you lose touch with reality?
Rush Limbaugh, who isn’t stupid and actually understands the appeal of Trump, never even graduated college. What good is college at all for someone who wants to be a newspaperman? It isn’t, in the slightest.
They should start at the bottom and work their way up. It should be like that for all jobs.
This is actually a deep point of political economy.
The economy used to stronger when people learned on the job. There used to be a culture of informal apprenticeship. This forced managers to know their skills thoroughly, and to observe their employees thoroughly. People worked more effectively and understood more.
Nowadays, too many jobs are what Graeber calls “bullshit jobs.”
we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.
These are what I propose to call “bullshit jobs.”
It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is exactly what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the very sort of problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.
I will post a new page for Graeber – he deserves one.
Uncabob’s original thoughts are here: