No I have not read the book by David Graeber though I’ve been told by friends more than once to read it. I did take a read of the essay he published in 2013, which was the precursor to the book and I think right at the point of identification of the phenomena, he already struck at the heart of some of the source of it. It is deep and it entangles a whole host of complexity.
I think getting people to accept the phenomena is a good start; tracing it to our socio-economic systems is a good next step. But we ultimately need to work on moving forward, changing this toxic culture. David Graeber of course was pushing for Universal Basic Income ultimately to deal with the problem but I think there’s a huge narrative around our lives, around the world that supports this whole culture of bullshit jobs that we need to work around. If we fail to change this narrative, then bullshit jobs are here to stay, and to perpetuate.
Given the mess our world is now in, there’s a whole lot of problem-solving, of cleaning up, of undoing the old system that our new generation have to do. And we need to construct the right narrative around creating a future that can contain the solution to these problems, or avert the disaster that awaits. If we continue adopting the narrative of the generations coming before us who fail to appreciate the oncoming disaster, then we are just going to repeat the same results.
There are so many problems we need to solve – we need to get people talking about these problems. Whether it is climate change, the massive inequality, the ills of financialisation of the economies and the world. We need to get the attention of people who might eventually commit themselves to the cause, to spend their own resources dealing with it so they can make a difference as opposed to just making money.
And when we realised how we are spending our time at jobs just targeted at helping people save ‘face’ or to free up their time so that they can do more things that stoke their own egos, we know that we ought to be going out there and creating that new future that we envision, not the one that our boss had that is blurry in our eyes but that we still conform to.