The Problem with Capitalism Isn’t Work–It’s the Lack of Freedom and Meaning

By Harsha Walia (October 1, 2018)

I’ve been thinking on something I have been hearing a lot this past year.

The critique of capitalism isn’t that we work.

Capitalism sucks because it creates conditions where labour is extracted, where we dont control our means of production, we are alienated from the process of production under a proft-driven wage economy, and that not all work is valued equally.

Autonomy and control of labour is the key here, not that we labour at all.

Living literally requires labour; non capitalist and sustainable economies are incredibly work-intensive (food production, child rearing etc). If you have ever spent time listening to elders speak about their early lives, their days were full of work – harvesting, washing, gathering, building, walking sunup to sundown. The whole point of the capitalist dream is that money replaces the need to work for rich people.

I think this precision matters because I think its dangerous that many people articulate that an ideal world will mean less work – no it won’t. It will mean more purposeful work where we control what we produce and where labour is equally valued within communities where kinship relations define us more than our work.


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