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Ted Talk on Meaning of Work

In: Social Issues

Submitted By JLZ242
Words 1237
Pages 5
Jennifer Zabasajja
Sociological Theory- Spring 2013
04/25/13
Brief #3

“We really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labor market looks like.” -Dan Ariely, Behavioral Economist In his TED talk lecture, Dan Ariely reveals the complicated attitudes towards the meaning of work. Prior to the Industrial Revolution people valued their work, and we are now in a time where work is more about producing in the most efficient way and keeping costs down for companies. The theories of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Bourdieu touch upon many of the experimental findings of Ariely, and in some cases challenge us to think further about our true meaning of work. “Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination, of the human brain and the human hear, operates independently of the individual–that is, operates on him as an alien, divine or diabolical activity—so is the worker's activity not his spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self. (Marx, 1964, p. 111).” According to Ariely, a person can work on a product from start to finish and the production would be very low. On the contrary, a different person can work on each part of a product and the production would increase tremendously. Marx believed that the alienation of labor is pertinent when we think about how workers connect to what they are doing. Specifically, he says that although one person making a product from start to finish might decrease production, it might increase the care being put into the product. When the product is being handed off every new step, the workers might not care as much about the quality and product they are working on. This distances the worker from his labor, causing him to lose control of the things in his life. In the Division of Labor in Society, Durkheim proposes that societies form from being simple…...

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