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February 29, 2012



Mind, he bigged up laziness as well, albeit only by defining it is its opposite ('within a definite framework' etc).

As a general rule, man strives to avoid labor. Love for work is not at all an inborn characteristic: it is created by economic pressure and social education. One may even say that man is a fairly lazy animal. It is on this quality, in reality, that is founded to a considerable extent all human progress; because if man did not strive to expend his energy economically, did not seek to receive the largest possible quantity of products in return for a small quantity of energy, there would have been no technical development or social culture. It would appear, then, from this point of view that human laziness is a progressive force, Old Antonio Labriola, the Italian Marxist, even used to picture the man of the future as a “happy and lazy genius.” We must not, however, draw the conclusion from this that the party and the trade unions must propagate this quality in their agitation as a moral duty. No, no. We have sufficient of it as it is. The problem before the social organization is just to bring “laziness” within a definite framework, to discipline it, and to pull mankind together with the help of methods and measures invented by mankind itself.

I can't help thinking this is a step back from Marxist thought of a earlier generation.


Link doesn't work, but I'm thinking Lafargue, who some would say was only a Marxist by marriage.

The whole of operaismo was elaborated out of thinking like that, which is interesting as I'd never really thought of them as Trots; maybe they got it straight from Labriola.

Has Grayling actually said that the opposition to workfare is all the work of teh Trotsses...? I've got a sneaking feeling he has. Will anyone have the nerve to quote this back at him? I can dream.


Whoops, sorry: yes it's supposed to be a link to Lafargue's famous pamphlet. &, yes, I've heard his father-in-law entertained a variety of pungent views about him both as a revolutionary and as a suitable partner for Laura Marx, but that these were not always openly expressed.


Are you channelling Andrew Neil now?[70 seconds in]
(Not that there aren't some things to be said for his interview technique).

Trotsky had lots of ideas about how to run a government (and the military from the point of view of administration of and insurrection against, which I did think of mentioning on Flying Rodent's post on how nothing can be done about the Syrian government's advantage over its opponents) apart from workfare, apparently.


Coalition workfare is not designed to enrich the business mates with free labor.

It is designed to show that the unemployed are just feral sickly parasitical exploiters that only a regime of forced heavy labor may save from their wanton depravity.

That it is their fault and choice for being unemployed, as they love the lavish luxury of and idle life on benefits.

Coalition ministers repeat at every opportunity that 50% of workfare beneficiaries get a job (which is easy to arrange, considering the turnover rates of the temping roles that they are pushed into) at the end of their treatment.

With the implication that at least 50% of the unemployed are enjoying so much the high life on overgenerous benefits that being just lazy dishonest scroungers they just don't want to work.

While productive, hard working deserving traders, lawyers, managers in the City suffer a bleak life of privation and self-sacrifice to pay a 50% tax rate to keep the living-it-large unemployed in the idle luxury they have felt entitled to for three generations.

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