Everyone must be able to live from his work is the propounded principle. Hence that one can live is subject to a condition and there is no right where the qualification can not be fulfilled.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Foundations of Natural Law according to the Principles of Scientific Theory, 1797
2. The neo-liberal apartheid society
The crook has destroyed working and taken away the worker's wage even so. Now he [the worker] shall labour without a wage while picturing to himself the blessing of success and profit in his prison cell. [...] By means of forced labour he shall be trained to perform moral labour as a free personal act.
Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl, Die deutsche Arbeit (The German Labour), 1861
3. The neo-welfare-apartheid-state
Whereas the moderate nationalism of social democrats or Greens is set on treating the old-established immigrants like natives and can even imagine naturalising those people should they be able to prove themselves harmless and affable. Thereby the intensified exclusion of refugees from the Eastern and African world can be legitimised in a populist manner even better and without getting into a fuss. Of course, the whole operation is well obscured by talking nineteen to the dozen about humanity and civilisation. Manhunts for "illegal immigrants" allegedly sneaking in domestic jobs shall not leave behind nasty bloodstains or burn marks on German soil. Rather it is the business of the border police, police forces in general, and the buffer states of "Schengenland", which dispose of the problem lawfully and best of all far away from media coverage.
Any job is better than no job.
Bill Clinton, 1998No job is as hard as no job.
A poster at the December 1998 rally, organised by initiatives for unemployed peopleCitizen work should be rewarded, not paid. [...] Whoever does honorary citizen work clears himself of the stigma of being unemployed and being a recipient of welfare benefits.
Ulrich Beck, The Soul of Democracy, 1997
4. Exaggeration and denial of the labour religion
Work, however base and mammonist, is always connected with nature. The desire to do work leads more and more to the truth and to the laws and prescriptions of nature, which are truths.
Thomas Carlyle, Working and not Despairing, 1843
5. Labour is a coercive social principle
The worker (lit. labourer) feels to be himself outside work and feels outside himself when working. He is at home when he does not work. When he works, he is not at home. As a result, his work is forced labour, not voluntary labour. Forced labour is not the satisfaction of a need but only a means for satisfying needs outside labour. Its foreignness appears in that labour is avoided as a plague as soon as no physical or other force exists.
Karl Marx, Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts, 1844
6. Labour and capital are the two sides of the same coin
The ruling idol knows how to enforce its "subjectless" (Marx) will by means of the "silent (implied) compulsion" of competition to which even the powerful must bow, especially if they manage hundreds of factories and shift billions across the globe. If they don't "do business", they will be scrapped as ruthlessly as the superfluous "labour force". Kept in the leading strings of intransigent systemic constraints they become a public menace by this and not because of some conscious will to exploit others. Least of all, are they allowed to ask about the meaning and consequences of their restless action and can not afford emotions or compassion. Therefore they call it realism when they devastate the world, disfigure urban features, and only shrug their shoulders when their fellow beings are impoverished in the midst of affluence.
More and more labour has the good conscience on its side: The inclination for leisure is called "need of recovery" and begins to feel ashamed of itself. "It is just for the sake of health", they defend themselves when caught at a country outing. It could happen to be in the near future that succumbing to a "vita contemplativa" (i.e. to go for a stroll together with friends to contemplate life) will lead to self-contempt and a guilty conscience.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Leisure and Idleness, 1882
7. Labour is patriarchal rule
Mankind had to horribly mutilate itself to create its identical, functional, male self, and some of it has to be redone in everybody's childhood
Max Horkheimer/Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment
8. Labour is the service of humans in bondage
9. The bloody history of labour
The modern bourgeoisie, who ultimately inherited absolutism, is not a descendant of the peaceful merchants who once travelled the old trading routes. Rather it was the bunch of Condottieri, early modern mercenary gangs, poorhouse overseers, penitentiary wards, the whole lot of farmers general, slave drivers and other cut-throats of this sort, who prepared the social hotbed for modern "entrepeneurship". The bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th century had nothing to do with social emancipation. They only restructured the balance of power within the arising coercive system, separated the institutions of the labour society from the antiquated dynastic interests and pressed ahead with reification and depersonalization. It was the glorious French revolution that histrionically proclaimed compulsory labour, enacted a law on the "elimination of begging" and arranged for new labour penitentiaries without delay.
The old agrarian societies were anything but heaven on earth. However, the majority experienced the enormous constraints of the dawning labour society as a change to the worse and a "time of despair". Despite of the narrowness of their existence, people actually had something to lose. What appears to be the darkness and plague of the misrepresented Middle Ages to the erroneous awareness of the modern times is in reality the horror of the history of modern age. The working hours of a modern white-collar or factory "employee" are longer than the annual or daily time spent on social reproduction by any pre-capitalist or non-capitalist civilisation inside or outside Europe. Such traditional production was not devoted to efficiency, but was characterised by a culture of leisure and relative "slowness". Apart from natural disasters, those societies were able to provide for the basic material needs of their members, in fact even better than it has been the case for long periods of modern history or is the case in the horror slums of the present world crisis. Furthermore, domination couldn't get that deep under the skin as in our thoroughly bureaucratised labour society.
The barbarian is lazy and differs from the scholar by musing apathetically, since practical culture means to busy oneself out of habit and to feel a need for occupation.
Georg W. F. Hegel, General outlines of the Philosophy of Right, 1821Actually one begins to feel [...] that this kind of labour is the best police conceivable, because it keeps a tight rein on everybody hindering effectively the evolution of sensibility, aspiration, and the desire for independence. For labour consumes nerve power to an extraordinary extent, depleting the latter as to contemplation, musing, dreaming, concern, love, hatred.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Eulogists of Labour, 1881
10. The working class movement was a movement for labour
Labour has to wield the sceptre,
Serfdom shall be the idlers fate,
Labour has to rule the world as
Labour is the essence of the world.
Friedrich Stampfer, Der Arbeit Ehre (In Honour of Labour), 1903
11. The crisis of labour
The basic moral principle is the right of the person to his work. [...] For me there is nothing more detestable than an idle life. None of us has a right to that. Civilisation has no room for idlers.
Henry FordCapital itself is the moving contradiction, [in] that it presses to reduce labour time to a minimum, while it posits labour time, on the other side, as sole measure and source of wealth. [...] On the one side, then, it calls to life all the powers of science and of nature, as of social combination and of social intercourse, in order to make the creation of wealth independent (relatively) of the labour time employed on it. On the other side, it wants to use labour time as the measuring rod for the giant social forces thereby created, and to confine them within the limits required to maintain the already created value as value.
Karl Marx, Foundation of the Critique of Political Economy, 1857/8