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Wales: Hay Festival. On Bullshit Jobs

  • Hay Festival Dairy Meadows, Brecon Road Hay on Wye, HR3 5PJ Wales (map)

Back in 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes prophesied that by the century's end, technology would see us all working 15-hour weeks. But instead, something curious happened. Today average working hours have not decreased but increased. And now, across the developed world, three-quarters of all jobs are in services or admin, jobs that don't seem to add anything to society: bullshit jobs. The LSE anthropologist explores how this phenomenon – one more associated with the 20th-century Soviet Union, but which capitalism was supposed to eliminate – has happened. In doing so, he looks at how we value work, and how, rather than being productive, work has become an end in itself; the way such work maintains the current broken system of finance capital; and, finally, how we can get out of it. Chaired by Hannah MacInnes.