Barry Schwartz has written a book and given a TED talk on this subject of “Why we work?”
He asserts that a small group of people work for meaning and purpose and, perhaps, because the work is important, but that most people work in jobs that give them none of these things. For those people, they work because they have to, for the money.
Ideas are important. Whether you rise up in revolt or resign yourself to your poverty is a function of ideas. False ideas die hard because people will create systems that reinforce the ideas from which those systems rise. Adam Smith ideas about people being lazy and responding only to external incentives led to the creation of factories which then leads to deadening jobs and people who sink to that occasion and no other way of producing goods.
Human nature will be shaped by our theories of human nature and the resulting societies we grow up and work in. We design human nature by designing the institutions within which people work and live. What human nature do we want to design?
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