“How, Fevre asks in his brilliant new book, can we critique Max Weber’s “iron cage” of economic rationality if we’re looking at the world from inside it? The great intellectuals of the past – Marx, Durkheim, Simmel, Weber, Cooley and more recently Polyani –were deeply troubled by a growing market mentality that we now so tepidly accept as “inevitable.” I won’t spoil the story but Fevre puts his finger on the moment when things went off track, and sets us back on track so we can take an honest look at our lives today. This is an enormously important challenge to our basic thinking about the most important organizing force in the world today: the market. A must read.” ; Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of The Commercialization of Intimate Life, and co-editor of Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy
Chapter Two: Living to Work?
Living to Work?
Durkheim knew the society he lived in was not yet a society in which occupational specialization made people both moral and happy:
A generation is not enough to cast aside the work of generations, to put a new man in the place of the old. In the present state of our societies, work is not only useful, it is necessary; everyone feels this, and this necessity has been felt for a long time. Nevertheless, those who find pleasure in regular and persistent work are still few and far between. For most men, it is still an insupportable servitude. The idleness of primitive times has not lost its old attractions for them. (Durkheim, 1893/1964: 241)
Some historians would observe that the attractions of ...