Why do pointless jobs exist?

无意义的工作为何存在?
时间:2018-08-12 单词数:4000

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导读:克拉克:《论狗屁工作》一书提出,世界满是没有意义的工作,人们明知自己的工作无意义,但必须假装并非如此。

无意义的工作为何存在?_ 双语新闻

Imagine having a job that pays you 12,000 pounds to write a two-page report for a big company meeting where the document is never discussed. Or a job that requires you to rent a car and drive up to 500km to oversee a person’s computer being moved five metres from one room to another. What about being a receptionist in a publishing company where the phone rings once a day and your only other tasks are filling a dish with mints and winding a grandfather clock once a week?

想象一下,你接了一项工作,为一个大型公司会议写一份两页的报告,你拿到了1.2万英镑的报酬,结果那次会议根本没有讨论这份报告。或者,你需要租辆车开上500公里,负责监督一个人的电脑被从一个房间挪到5米外的另一个房间。或者在一家出版公司当前台,电话每天响一次,此外你只需要把盘子装满薄荷糖,以及一周给一台老爷钟上一次发条。

These nuggets are strewn through David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs, a provocative, funny and engaging book that claims the world has been engulfed by a rising tide of pointless work.

这样的工作在戴维格雷伯(David Graeber)的著作《论狗屁工作》(Bullshit Jobs)里比比皆是。这本发人深思又妙趣横生的书宣称,世界上到处是没有意义的工作,而且越来越多。

This is a curious charge to hear at a time of rising anxiety about keeping one’s job safe from a robot, or the indignities of the gig economy and sweeping technological disruption. Yet it clearly has appeal.

当今人们日益焦虑该如何在机器人、不体面的零工经济,以及科技带来的广泛破坏性影响下保住自己的工作,在这样的背景下,格雷伯的控诉听起来很奇怪。然而,这本书显然是有吸引力的。

If Graeber’s idea sounds familiar, it is because the book is based on a 2013 essay he wrote for a radical magazine called Strike! that was such a hit it crashed the publication’s website and was translated into a dozen languages within weeks. The Economist published a critique of it. Adverts quoting it appeared in the London Underground. Eventually, pollsters based a UK survey on it showing that 37 per cent of people did not believe their job made “a meaningful contribution to the world”. A Dutch poll later came up with similar results.

如果格雷伯的观点听起来似曾相识,是因为这本书是由格雷伯在2013年为激进杂志《Strike!》撰写的一篇文章延伸而来。当时那篇文章非常热门,一度导致该杂志网站崩溃。在几个星期里,这篇文章就被译为十几种语言。《经济学人》(Economist)专门发表了评论文章。引用这篇文章的广告出现在伦敦地铁里。后来,英国对这个问题进行的相关民意调查显示,37%的人不认为他们的工作“为世界作出了有意义的贡献”。接着,荷兰的一份民意调查也得出了类似结果。

For Graeber, an American anthropology professor at the London School of Economics, this confirmed he was on to something big about 21st-century capitalism: it looked a lot like 20th-century Soviet socialism, generating myriad pointless jobs to keep workers employed. Given how that particular venture ended, this is a worrying prospect.

格雷伯是伦敦政治经济学院(LSE)的美籍人类学教授。格雷伯认为,这证明他发现了21世纪资本主义的某种重大特征:无数没有意义的工作被创造出来,只为了让人们得到雇佣,这看起来很像是20世纪的苏联社会主义。考虑到苏联社会主义的结局,未来的发展令人担忧。

And if it is indeed happening, it is bizarre. Capitalism is supposed to deliver efficiency. Technological advances are supposed to mean we spend less time at work of any sort (in 1930 John Maynard Keynes suggested it could be as little as 15 hours a week).

如果事情真的是这样,那就很奇怪了。资本主义被认为理应会带来效率。随着技术进步,我们在任何类型的工作上花费的时间应该更少(约翰梅纳德凯恩斯(John Maynard Keynes)在1930年预测,未来人们每周只需工作15个小时)。

Even if this has yet to materialise, the idea that much in the modern office is maddening is hardly new: in 2019 it will be 30 years since newspapers began to publish Dilbert, the satirical take on the corporate workplace that became one of the world’s most popular comic strips.

即使这种情况还没有成为现实,有关现代职场越来越疯狂的想法并不新鲜:到2019年,漫画《呆伯特》(Dilbert)在报纸上的连载时间就会达到30年。这部以讽刺手法描绘职场现象的作品成为了世界最受欢迎的连环漫画之一。

来源:金融时报爱语吧作者:CNS喻贵良

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