Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Useful work?


I have also been reading Useful Work Versus Useless Toil by William Morris and he makes the point '...it is waste of time to try to express in words due contempt of the productions of the much-praised cheapness of our epoch. It must be enough to say that this cheapness is necessary to the system of exploiting on which modern manufacture rests. In other words, our society includes a great mass of slaves, who must be fed, clothed, housed and amused as slaves, and that their daily necessity compels them to make the slave-wares whose use is the perpetuation of their slavery.' (Morris, 1888/2008, UK)

Although this was written a long time ago it bears much relevance now - we work to earn money to consume, often while we work we produce items to be consumed or do that which oils the wheel of consumerism.
So the question remains - is this a habit which can be broken, and indeed do we want to break it? In my opinion it seems we do not want to wholly change our habits in consumerism thus we should change our design habits to lessen the impact of our day to day lives. Maybe taking on another of Morris' points would help - '... worthy work carries with it the hope of pleasure in rest, the hope of the pleasure in our using what it makes, and the hope of pleasure in our daily creative skill. All other work but this is worthess; it is slaves' work - mere toiling to live, that we may live to toil.'

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