Do What We Want

January 21

I normally get a little irritated at Slate’s well-known propensity to write stories in a way that says what you thought was wrong, but sometimes I like it. They might title that thought as “Why you will take back what you thought about Slate.” And here I am.

They have a story critical of the near-universally embraced idea of ‘Do What You Love.’ (DWYL). This Jobsian jobbery of love-your-work is a genuinely appealing thought, and while it’s not exactly wrong, it sure needs a lot of unpacking. Short version of this unpacking: It isn’t realistic advice for a hell of a lot of people, who then subsequently get disappeared out of our frame of reference because they don’t fit. It is one more manifestation of our new strange 21st century winner take all economics, in which the winners get all the money and get to love the process too and themselves most of all.

I have my own take on this. I know economics is really resistant to efforts to make it more equitable and fair and satisfying, but we’re going to have to take another run at it anyway. Marxism was an attempt to do it with a very blunt instrument, all cast iron gears and belching steam and hammers and sickles. It was a colossal mess. But we’re smarter now. Everything else works better, so why not a more sophisticated model of redistributed economic benefits? What would that look like?

It would look like a conscious dedicated plan and effort to get all that grunt work the story talks about into the newly capable hands of computer-guided robot slaves. And distribute some of the profits from that endeavor and some of the DWYL opportunities to everyone. We can Do It If We Want To. (DIIWWT)

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/01/do_what_you_love_love_what_you_do_an_omnipresent_mantra_that_s_bad_for_work.html

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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