What is the value of “Work”?

Having a lively and lovely discussion in my twitter timeline this morning of the social value of the things we do that aren’t “work” in the generally valued sense.

It’s worth repeating here an extract of one of my earlier blogs:

“There is, of course, some morality to be found in working. The quality of industriousness is recognised in moral codes in many cultures and times. I differentiate ‘industriousness’ from ‘engagement in paid work’. There is nothing moral about being engaged in paid work which destroys our environment, which builds weapons to help tyrannical regimes oppress their people or which demeans and exploits women to fulfil the sexual fantasies of strangers. There is much that is moral in mothering a child, caring for an incapacitated parent or partner, writing a letter to bring comfort to a prisoner, marching to stop a war, running six marathons in six days to save a health service, badgering the Government through FOI requests to stop the progress of a bill that will bring suffering to those who are sick or have disabilities.

If we find moral value in industriousness, we may find it in children, whose ‘work’ is to learn and grow, in the sick whose ‘work’ is to get well, and in the elderly whose ‘work’ is to pass on their wisdom and experience to those who follow them.

But the empty-souled Tories no longer even seem to see moral worth in work. They see it only in material success. And the ownership of things.”

This was taken from my blog about David Cameron’s “Moral Capitalism” speech in January of this year.

Full blog is here: http://itsmotherswork.posterous.com/the-immoral-capitalism-speech

…and includes a link to the full text of his speech.

Another world is possible.


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