In These Leisure Times, by Joel Schlosberg (Part One)

In These Times Magazine

Fans of this site will appreciate the excellent discussion on reducing work as a solution to labor problems that appears in this month’s issue of leftist magazine In These Times.  Magazine editor Jessica Stites talks with two antiwork radical leftists — Jacobin magazine’s editor and regular contributor of antiwork material Peter Frase and The Problem With Work‘s Kathi Weeks — and one liberal who, despite being more moderate and also a promoter of full employment, is nevertheless friendly to reducing work as a strategy: economist Dean Baker.

It’s very welcome to see a rare counterbalance in the alternative press to the reflexive calls on the left for public works and universal employment as a panacea not only in the labor market itself but for almost every major issue (which are so ubiquitous that the print issue includes a squib about Jill Stein’s Green New Deal on the same page). It is even more refreshing that all of the participants are on the side of reducing work — I can recall almost no such discussions, even on the farthest radical ends of the left, aside from Doug Henwood’s Behind the News radio interview of Weeks — so that the space and energy usually spent on “should we?” defensiveness against those who take for granted the virtuousness of work can be applied to moving forward with the “how to?” aspect. What qualms Baker has (with his role as the devil’s advocate in this case being somewhat ironic given his consistent open-mindedness to free-market strategy) are pragmatic and strategic, rather than moralistic.

(To be continued with an in-depth analysis…)

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