chapter  6
21 Pages

Work as craft

We have now explored the inadequacies of the existing model of economic production and considered ideas for a more locally embedded alternative. In this chapter we move on to consider the actual business of work. Many of the early critics of capitalism, and of the classical economists, identified the change in the nature of work as a key aspect of that system of economic organisation, and one that had the potential to be socially damaging. Marx, for example, was critical of the way that the alienating organisation of work under capitalism was psychologically destructive, as well as undermining to social relationships. As we will see later, the English utopian socialists sympathised with this critique, suggesting a need to reject the picture of work as inevitable drudgery, as theorised by the classical economists Smith and Ricardo, and to restore the dignity and spiritual value to work. This is one task of this chapter: to re-vision work in the context of a bioregional economy.