This decline isn’t unemployment in the usual sense, where people look for work and can’t find it. It’s a kind of post-employment, in which people drop out of the work force and find ways to live, more or less permanently, without a steady job. So instead of spreading from the top down, leisure time — wanted or unwanted — is expanding from the bottom up. Long hours are increasingly the province of the rich.Of course, nobody is hailing this trend as the sign of civilizational progress. Instead, the decline in blue-collar work is often portrayed in near-apocalyptic terms — on the left as the economy’s failure to supply good-paying jobs, and on the right as a depressing sign that government dependency is killing the American work ethic.But it’s worth linking today’s trends to the older dream of a post-work utopia, because there are ways in which the decline in work-force participation is actually being made possible by material progress.
“Are coders encouraged to develop their people skills (communication with colleagues and customers, user empathy, etc.), or are those skills offloaded to other departments? How do you determine the pay grades for the various roles and departments in your company? Do compensation levels reflect any unconscious assumptions about the respective value of different skill sets? How do you value your team’s “empathizers”?”
“What Facebook has accomplished, by Losse’s account, isn’t the erosion of the boundary between public life and private life, but our divisions between work and pleasure. “