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John Bellamy Foster, « The Meaning of Work in a Sustainable Society », 2017

John Bellamy Foster , The Meaning of Work in a Sustainable Society , Monthly Review , Volume 69, Issue 04 (September2017).

Some radical theorists have seen a more just society as merely requiring the rationalization of present-day work relations, accompanied by increased leisure time and more equitable distribution. Others have focused on the need to transcend the entire system of alienated labor and make the development of creative work relations the central element of a new revolutionary society.

Within late nineteenth-century socialist-utopian literatures, it is possible to distinguish two broad tendencies regarding the future of work, represented on one side by Edward Bellamy, author of Looking Backward, on the other by William Morris, author of News from Nowhere. Bellamy, standing for a view familiar to us today, saw enhanced mechanization, together with comprehensive technocratic organization, as the basis for increased leisure time, considered the ultimate good. In contrast, Morris, whose analysis derived from Charles Fourier, John Ruskin, and Karl Marx, emphasized the centrality of useful, enjoyable work, requiring the abolition of the capitalist division of labor. Today the mechanistic view of Bellamy more closely resembles popular conceptions of a sustainable economy, than does Morris’s more radical outlook. Thus the notion of “liberation from work” as the foundation of sustainable prosperity has been strongly advanced in the writings of first-stage ecosocialist and degrowth thinkers like André Gorz and Serge Latouche.

I contend here that the idea of near-total liberation from work, in its one-sidedness and incompleteness, is ultimately incompatible with a genuinely sustainable society.

Ces deux passages expriment bien l’enjeu de la discussion et l’orientation de l’article. Je vais en faire la critique en français sur la version française parue dans Lava.

Indeed, the myth that the ancient Greek thinkers in general were anti-work, representing a historical continuity with today’s dominant ideology, was refuted by the Marxian classicist and philosopher of science Benjamin Farrington in his 1947 study Head and Hand in Ancient Greece. Farrington showed that such views, though common enough among the aristocratic factions represented by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, were opposed by the pre-Socratic philosophers, and contradicted by the larger historical context of Greek philosophy, science, and medicine, which had originated in traditions of hands-on craft knowledge.

Plusieurs erreurs. Voir aussi ma critique en Foster 2017-fr.