Debt servitude, service work, oikos

Below is the bare-bones of the paper I did for the recent ASA conference on debt, oikos and service. The argument in that is drawn from C&C, but it’s an argument that I’ve become more sure of since, particularly with the recent wave of occupations at Sussex University against the privatisation of catering, and more recently the COSAS strike at the University of London.

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The abolition and limitation of (which and whose) work?

I had sat down to do a post on automation and the abolition/limit of work-time, but given the level of some of the discussion I’ve seen, that seems to require some preliminaries and backgrounding, so aside from these remarks below, there’s another post on the concept of ‘socially-necessary labour’ here.

There’s been some renewed discussion around both the abolition of jobs and a re-assertion of demands for limits to work-time. The second of these is taken up in Laura Flanders’ interview with Kathi Weeks at Truthout, while the first is discussed by David Graeber in “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.”


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