The Concept of Work

The human spirit and capitalism

The essence of work, the human spirit and capitalism are all intertwined in unique ways and often provide a prime example of the human condition. Work embodies a sense of purpose, the concept of toiling in order to achieve a greater good, furthering our collective evolution as a species.

Yes, capitalism has endured over time due to the human spirit that drives us to strive for greater things and to be creative, that the concept of work is more than just about making money.

However, if not careful we could lose this important ideology.  It is necessary to remember the religious roots of capitalism in order to maintain and restore it.  “Protestant Ethic”, was the main driver of capitalist civilization.  It was the concept of hard work and diligence in one’s occupation as a means of achieving economic success.  The combination of work ethic with religious convictions proved successful in allowing capitalism to evolve and outlast many other forms of economy. 

Capitalism has fueled the industrial, technological and green revolutions, reshaped the natural world and transformed the role of the state in relation to society. It has lifted people out of poverty over the last two centuries, significantly increased standards of living, and resulted in innovations that have radically improved human well-being, as well as making it possible to go to the Moon and read this article on the internet.  At its best, it allows individuals to prosper beyond what they could have possibly achieved without the structure of economic incentives and self-motivation.

But we are in danger of a shift away from capitalism and there are multiple disrupters at play.

  • Technology has reduced the need for work, blurring the edges between work and free time.  This wave of automation will undoubtedly diminish the amount of work needed by humans in the near future.
  • We are seeing the rise of monopolies and it’s a natural reaction to how information is so readily available with markets based on scarcity. There is a rise of collaboration between goods, services and organizations.  Our government at all levels has increased the use of private corporations to provide services.  Capitalism requires the free operation of the capital markets.  It relies on the laws of supply and demand.  Monopolies destroy the free market.
  • Our addiction to technology and its products.  We’re hooked on our phones, social media and the danger of this is the manipulation of our behavior.  We already rely on Google for answers and “truth” is defined by the top Google search results.

Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy: between old forms of society molded around capitalism and new forms of society that prefigure what comes next.

All of these concepts — work, the human spirit and capitalism — have helped mold our collective sense of experiences, successes and failures.

Capitalism is the end result of people acting freely and creating.  Markets do not emerge by human intention or by human design.  They emerge due to the people that pursue their individual dreams, goals and purpose.  In the end it may look like it was designed by experts but, it actually emerged despite the fact that no one was consciously guiding the process.

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