Longreads

Existentialists with agita, rejoice. We now have an anthropologist’s confirmation that what we do means nothing. At the New YorkerNathan Hellerwrites about David Greaber’s Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, a book that examines our current work economy and how we attribute meaning to our lives with possibly (probably?) meaningless tasks.

[Bullshit] jobs are endemic even to creative industries. Content curators, creatives—these and other intermediary non-roles crop up in everything from journalism to art. Hollywood is notoriously mired in development, an endeavor that Graeber believes to be almost pure bullshit.

In a famous essay drafted in 1928, John Maynard Keynes projected that, a century on, technological efficiency in Europe and in the U.S. would be so great, and prosperity so assured, that people would be at pains to avoid going crazy from leisure and boredom. Maybe, Keynes wrote, they could plan to retain three hours of work a day, just to…

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