Saturday, May 25, 2024

David Graeber’s theory of ‘Bullshit Jobs’ in capitalist economy

A bullshit job is usually one that does not create any value for society. Mostly it is socialist governments that are accused of employing millions of useless employees. In his book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, David Graeber argues that capitalism is a major generator of bullshit jobs which entangle masses into an endless routine of toil that produces no value. 

Graeber notes that in capitalism those employed in bullshit jobs often have more importance, power and privilege than those who have the responsibility for jobs that are absolutely critical. “Those who work bullshit jobs are often surrounded by honor and prestige; they are respected as professionals, well paid, and treated as high achievers,” Graeber writes. 

Large universities and even multinational companies like Apple, Microsoft and others have huge bureaucracies. Many of their jobs could be related to bullshit tasks like filling compliance forms and surveys, creating content that no one will read and going to meetings which lead to no outcomes. 

The most interesting argument that Graeber makes in the book is that bullshit jobs exist because modern civilization is based on the idea of hard work being an end in itself. Everyone must do hard labor for a number of hours every day—this is the fundamental principle of modern civilization. If real jobs don’t exist, then society will create bullshit jobs to make everyone labor. 

“Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don’t like and are not especially good at,” Graeber writes. He says that like medieval feudalism, capitalism creates an endless hierarchy of lords, vassals and retainers.

No comments: