Last week, on September 2, radical anthropologist and Occupy Wall Street organizer David Graeber passed away at a hospital in Venice at the age of 59. In their obituary, the New York Times called him a “caustic critic of inequality.” Today we remember David by re-airing our Labor Day interview with him from two years ago about the rise of “bullshit jobs”—even though he couldn’t say “bullshit” on the air.
Rest in power, David.
Original episode description:
A 2015 YouGov survey revealed that 37% of working British adults think their jobs do not make a meaningful contribution to the world. Similarly, 40% of workers in the Netherlands reported that their jobs had no good reason to exist. Why are so many 21st century workers trapped in useless, meaningless jobs?
On this special Labor Day episode, Monday host Patty Peltekos speaks with David Graeber, author of Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. They discuss the “BS-ization” of work and its social implications, along with broader labor issues such as the effects of automation, the proliferation of paperwork, the psychological toll of BS jobs, and the argument for a universal basic income.
David Graeber was a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics and the author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Melville House, 2011), The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy (Melville House, 2015), and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (Penguin, 2018).