| Bullshit Jobs and the Real Work Revolution in the Post Covid-19 WorldTalking About Men’s Health™

With Coronavirus deaths continuing to increase world-wide, the U.S. death toll now approaching 160,000, and our economy in free fall, it may be difficult to recognize the positive things that the Covid-19 crisis is trying to teach us. Here, I’ll share a few that I see:

  • This is a wake-up call for all of humankind. Humans have been on a self-destructive path and we now have a chance to turn things around.
  • We can change our beliefs that we are masters of the universe and all other life must bend to our will or die. That would be like the brain taking charge of the body and imposing its will on our kidneys, lungs, and hearts.
  • Closing down our industrial economy, even for a short time, has demonstrated that we have the will to reverse the global climate crisis and save the world for future generations.
  • Our divided government can actually come together to share our collective wealth with citizens who are unable to work. As automation continues to increase joblessness, we can adjust our economy accordingly.
  • Eliminating bullshit jobs will free people to return to work that is meaningful and helpful for the well-being of humanity and other living creatures on planet Earth.

David Graeber is professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. In the spring of 2013, he asked a provocative question. “Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world?” His essay, On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs went viral and his subsequent book, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, continues to make waves.

He reminds us that “crises tend to reveal unacknowledged truths.” For instance, he says,

“In 2008 we learned that the majority of the financial wizards we had been taught to treat with awe for the previous two decades were, in fact, little more than scam artists — and rather clumsy ones, at that.”

Addressing our present crisis, he tells us,

“The coronavirus, and resulting lockdowns, is teaching us an even more startling lesson: that a very large portion of what we call ‘the economy’ is little more than just another scam.”

Those with the power to do the most harm are rewarded most, while those who do the most good are rewarded least.”

So, what are “bullshit jobs?” According to Graeber,

“Bullshit jobs are jobs which even the person doing the job can’t really justify the existence of, but they have to pretend that there’s some reason for it to exist. That’s the bullshit element.”

Graeber contrasts bullshit jobs with shit jobs. He says of the latter,

“Bad jobs are bad because they’re hard or they have terrible conditions or the pay sucks, but often these jobs are very useful. In fact, in our society, often the more useful the work is, the less they pay you. Whereas bullshit jobs are often highly respected and pay well but are completely pointless, and the people doing them know this.”

A review of the book on Amazon makes the point:

“This review was written at the desk of a salaried office job, where I am paid $65,000/year to do virtually nothing important, so I mostly sit in my chair and listen to podcasts and audiobooks all day. I do this until enough executives and managers above me are gone that I can feel comfortable sneaking out. With my income from this, I then outsource all my chores to a slew of below living wage 21st Century gig economy employees–Uber drivers, food delivery, meal kits, laundry.”

I’ve never had a bullshit job, but I’ve had a few shit jobs, which I’d like to forget. But the times are creating an opportunity to do away with bullshit jobs and support work that really makes a difference in the world. In his book, Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build The Ideal World, historian Rutger Bregman says, “In a survey of 12,000 professionals by the Harvard Business Review, half said they felt their job had no ‘meaning and significance.’”

Everyone wants a meaningful life and work that makes a difference in the world. What would happen if we freed people from bullshit jobs that make a lot of money, but harm the person and our world? As the Coronavirus forces us to open up, then shut down, many jobs, we have an opportunity to give up the bullshit work in favor of jobs with real meaning. “In a world that’s getting ever richer,” says Bregman, “where cows produce more milk and robots produce more stuff, there’s more room for friends, family, community service, science, art, sports, and all other things that make life worthwhile.”

Are You Ready to Join the Real Work Revolution?

Let’s eliminate bullshit jobs in favor of jobs that are meaningful and helpful. It seems to me that one area of meaningful work that is sorely needed these days is “people work.” Everywhere we look, people’s fear level is increasing. It expresses itself most often in irritability, anger, and depression. Men, in particular, seem to be suffering and their suffering impacts the women and children in their lives.

In my books, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression and Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from The Irritable Male Syndrome, I offer a program to heal the wounds that causes so many men and their families to break down and so many marriages to fall apart.

The need for people to be trained in “people work” has never been more important than it is now. I’ve decided to offer a certification and training program for 25 men and women who would like to expand their work in the world and who would like to help more, earn more, and have a career that can be part of the real work revolution in the post Covid-19 world. If you’d like more information about this training which will begin in September, drop me a note to Jed@MenAlive.com (be sure and respond to my spamarrest filter when emailing me for the first time) and put “People work” in the subject line. To get more information about the training and to get an application, come join me here.

Also, if you’d like to talk to directly to me, I’m happy to jump on a Zoom call or phone you directly. Oh, and one last thing. These 25 will be the only men and women I will ever train, certify, and mentor. So, if this resonates with you, get in touch now.

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Soler rides crest of Movistar team work to win Vuelta stage two

October 21, 2020

LEKUNBERRI, Spain (Reuters) – Spanish rider Marc Soler edged defending champion Primoz Roglic to win stage two of the Vuelta on Wednesday after some magnificent team work from his Movistar side.

Roglic narrowly extended his overall lead.

Movistar, founded by Navarre native Eusebio Unzue, dictated the pace of the 151km hilly stage from Pamplona to Lekunberri in the green picturesque valleys of Navarre province and led a large group of riders up the final climb before it split on the descent.

Soler was the early leader on the final downhill and his team worked tirelessly to stop a challenge from George Bennett. The Spaniard further increased his pace to finish 19 seconds ahead of Slovenian Roglic and collect his first ever Grand Tour stage win.

Dan Martin of Ireland came third while Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz came fourth, also 19 seconds behind Soler.

Roglic collected six bonus seconds and has a nine-second lead in the general classification over second-placed Martin and 11 seconds over Carapaz.

Thursday’s stage is a 166km hilly stage from Lodosa to La Laguna Negra – Vinuesa.

“We were riding on home turf today, we were very motivated about competing here in Navarre and together with the team directors we came up with a plan to play to our strengths on the start of the final climb,” said Soler.

“We really started to put the work in from that point and the truth is from there to the finish line everything went as planned.”

Team mate Enric Mas added: “We wanted to take advantage of the fact we knew the territory well and everything paid off. We also benefited from the headwind and the whole team worked magnificently.

“In the end Marc finished the job and he is the one who deserved it the most. When he overtook us he was like a motorbike and there was no stopping him.”

(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Cradle to desk – South Korea wants mothers to work, to bolster the labour force | Asia

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Opinion | After the Pandemic, a Revolution in Education and Work Awaits

Welcome to the Times orchestra.

This is already having a big impact on education. “We have started hiring many people with no degrees,’’ explained Kumar. “If you know stuff and can demonstrate that you know stuff and have been upskilling yourself with online training to do the task that we need, you’re hired. We think this structural shift — from degrees to skills — could bridge the digital divide as the cost of undergraduate education has increased by 150 percent over the last 20 years.’’

Infosys still hires lots of engineers. But today Kumar is not looking just for “problem solvers,’’ he says, but “problem-finders,’’ people with diverse interests — art, literature, science, anthropology — who can identify things that people want before people even know they want them.

Steve Jobs was the ultimate problem-finder.

Now so many more people can play at that, because you no longer need to know how to code to generate new software programs. Thanks to artificial intelligence, there is now “no-code software.’’ You just instruct the software to design some code for the application that you’ve imagined or need and, presto, it will spit it out.

“We’re seeing the democratization of software — the consumers can now be the creators,’’ Kumar explained. It shows you how AI will take away jobs of the past, while it creates jobs of the future.

Finally, he argues, in the future, postsecondary education will be a hybrid ecosystem of company platforms, colleges and local schools, whose goal will be to create the opportunity for lifelong “radical reskilling.”

“Radical reskilling means I can take a front-desk hotel clerk and turn him into a cybersecurity technician. I can take an airline counter agent and turn her into a data consultant.”

Today, companies like Infosys, IBM or AT&T are all creating cutting-edge in-house universities — Infosys is building a 100-acre campus in Indianapolis designed to provide their employees and customers not “just-in-case learning’’ — material you might or might not need to master the job at hand — but “just-in-time learning,’’ offering the precise skills needed for the latest task, explained Kumar.

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Michael Cheika starts work with Argentina

The Pumas, ranked 10th in the world, begin their campaign against the All Blacks on November 14 at Bankwest Stadium, before taking on Australia the following Saturday in Newcastle.

Cheika, who exited stage left after last year’s World Cup, answered a call from Ledesma to help Argentina given The Rugby Championship is taking place solely in Australia. He has now finished his commitments with the Sydney Roosters and will be looking to find ways to see where the Wallabies are vulnerable under new coach Dave Rennie.

“The fact that Michael (Cheika) can now be at the training venue and in contact with the players is great,” Ledesma said. “He is very enthusiastic about the team, he transmits lots of confidence and belief. He is very eager to join the group and players will be able to take advantage of him full-time. He will prepare individual things with the players, so that will be great for the team”.

In an interview earlier this month, Cheika explained why he felt compelled to take up an opportunity with the Pumas.

“For me to have an opportunity, even though I’m not the head coach, but to help them and help this happen in Australia is definitely worthwhile,” Cheika told rugby.com.au.

“I just think it’s the right thing to do and have some fun as well. I love the Argentinian mentality and they’ve had such a great history around the game.

Cheika and Ledesma during their Wallabies days in 2015.

Cheika and Ledesma during their Wallabies days in 2015. Credit:Brendan Esposito

“To have the chance to help them out, especially in Australia, my home country, and make this championship happen you couldn’t ask for much more. What an opportunity.”

Ledesma worked under Cheika at Stade Francais and then at the Waratahs in 2015.

The pair were part of the coaching group that helped Australia to a World Cup final later that year.


Ledesma left the Wallabies set-up in 2017 before coaching the Jaguares in Super Rugby and then the national side.

Argentina have organised a warm-up match against the Waratahs this Saturday afternoon at TG Millner but the match won’t be open to the public.

The plan is for the Pumas, whose players have barely had any rugby under their belts due to COVID-19 restrictions in Argentina, to have three friendly matches before taking on New Zealand.

“The friendlies are essential,” Ledesma said. “Having the possibility to play three games before New Zealand seems like little preparation but for us it is very important.”

Rugby Championship fixtures

October 31: Australia v New Zealand at ANZ Stadium
November 7: Australia v New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium
November 14: New Zealand v Argentina at Bankwest Stadium
November 21: Argentina v Australia at McDonald Jones Stadium
November 28: Argentina v New Zealand at McDonald Jones Stadium
December 5: Australia v Argentina at Bankwest Stadium

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The Fundamental Human Relationship with Work

CURT NICKISCH: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Curt Nickisch.

Back in 1817, a Welsh textile mill owner turned labor activist named Robert Owen came up with the expression: “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.” That simple formula was a radical idea at a time when workers could spend nearly every daylight hour at their machines.

It was more than a century later that the U.S. Congress mandated the 40-hour workweek, one big way that still defines how we think about work and its share of our lives today.

But everyone knows that work is not like clocking in and out for a shift at a factory anymore. And whether it’s the gig economy or working alongside intelligent machines, we also now the future of work will be even more different than today.

Today’s guest says our modern notions of work and economy and productivity really did takes form during Industrial Revolution. But he says the human experience of working goes back much further – and that to understand the future of work, it can help to look way back throughout history and even prehistory.

James Suzman is an anthropologist, and the author of the book “Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time.” James, thanks for joining us.

JAMES SUZMAN: Thank you very much for having me.

CURT NICKISCH: Well, I want to ask you what got you interested in thinking about how humans think about work, this notion of work?

JAMES SUZMAN: Well, it’s – work is something that’s, we all, we grow up thinking of it as very much part of life and we think of all sorts of different ideas around work. That it is something virtuous. That laziness is a sin. That one has to work hard. If you work hard, you’ll succeed and so on and so on, and so on.

And like everybody else, I, certainly in the Western world, I was very much a part of that sort of paradigm of work. And then, as a result of all the hard work I did, I ended up being a doctoral student as an anthropologist and I chose to work with hunter gatherers in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia and Botswana. People are known as the Bushmen or the San, or more properly, Ju/’hoansi, was the group I worked with. And part of what was interesting about them was this was one of the last groups of people that had continued, that had hunted and gathered continuously, really since the origins of humankind.

CURT NICKISCH: You in your book, you called this the most, the hunter gatherer society, the most sustainable form of economic organization of people that we’ve ever known.

JAMES SUZMAN: Yes. Certainly and this group in particular, this group we now know, we now know that homo sapiens evolved, perhaps 300,000 years ago. And so this is a lot longer than we thought 20 or 30 years ago. And it makes us a lot more ancient than anybody things. And what we know is that actually one population group, this population group from whom the Ju/’hoansi are direct genetic descendants of, have been hunting and gathering in Southern Africa since the origins of homo sapiens.

And if you view success of a civilization as endurance of a time and stability, then this is unquestionably the most successful civilization in all of history. And what was interesting about them was that they had an extremely different set of economic ideas and ethos that resulted in them not only working a lot less than we did, but in many ways living far more sustainably than we do. And organically as a result of that having a very different set of attitudes about a whole series of other economic norms and practices that we often think of are part of our human nature.

CURT NICKISCH: So, what were those economic notions that have been so consistent for so long and are so different from ours today?

JAMES SUZMAN: Well, the first thing is that hunter gatherers, certainly in people’s minds when they think of stone age people, they tend to imagine that this was a life was nasty and brutish and short, to use the famous Hobbes phrase. That it was constant battle for starvation and survival.

CURT NICKISCH: Right. And then you killed one Mastodon and bragged about it for years.

JAMES SUZMAN: Yes. Exactly. Killed one Mastodon and then dodged being killed by another. And what we now know is certainly based on the study of more contemporary foraging societies, is that actually life wasn’t particularly nasty, brutish and short.

Sure they had the same kind of issues that effect really all premodern medicine societies. So, you had high infant mortality rates and so on. But really once you passed that leap of infant mortality, people lived very long and relatively prosperous lives. In fact, the average lifespan of hunter gatherers as far as we can tell, and it doesn’t apply the same everywhere. But for people like the Ju/’hoansi or the Hadzabe, another group of African hunter gatherers, their average lifespan exceeded that of pretty much everybody until mid-Industrial Revolution Europe.

And they were able to meet all their basic dietary and material needs on the basis of, in the case of the Ju/’hoansi, around 15 to 17 hours food collecting work a week. And then perhaps another 20 hours work which what you could call loosely all work, domestic work. So that’s sort of making fires, preparing food and so on and so forth. Which is roughly the amount of additional domestic work that all of us do. Excluding childcare and I showed others the Ju/’hoansi found the idea that us Westerners think of childcare as hard work, be just ludicrous and laughable.

So you know, they were able to meet their basic needs on the basis of very little effort. And what this did was it bred an economic system based not on their assumption of scarcity, not on their assumption that we’ve got to fight for everything all the time, but actually an assumption that the environment will always be able to provide for your basic needs on the bases of one or two hours spontaneous effort, whenever you need it.

So their economic system sort of was based on the fact, almost like how one might live in terms of food if you were, you know, lived within a sort of a massive Walmart store. And you just lived there and you just went and took off the shelves whatever you wanted, whenever you felt the need. And because of that, people didn’t put great store in hoarding surpluses or controlling surpluses. And at the same time they didn’t put a great deal of effort into controlling resources, did not really result in people having more power than the other.

So what you ended up with was a society that was extremely egalitarian. So the word that the anthropologist Richard Lee – the way he put it and, was they were fiercely egalitarian and that effectively at the same time they’re also extremely individualistic. In a sense these guys were the absolute libertarians. They accepted no laws, no rules, no leaders, or anything. And the net results of this was this society where property was not seen as particularly important and where people were fiercely egalitarian and anybody who tried to lord it over anybody else got mocked and ridiculed constantly.

CURT NICKISCH: I mean some of this economy had to change as people moved into different climates where you had to spend more of your time just sustaining energy and spend more work just staying warm for instance. But explain how the understanding of work changed when, as some of these societies became agrarian societies?

JAMES SUZMAN: Agriculture changed everything. You know, foragers basically harvested their food. They did, they had no, you know, it was up to the gods to produce the food and the gods did so, and some years they were more generous than others, but the food was pretty much always there. When you become a farmer, you in effect take responsibility for that production of food. And that produces a very different set of relationships, not just between you and the land, but also between you and other people.

And the critical thing with farming is that farming requires a lot of work before you get any return. So, where a hunter gatherer would just go out and simply harvest thing and get an immediate return for their effort, immediate return for the work they did, farming societies all had a delayed return.

And there’s another sort of really critical angle is that sort of labor incurs a sort of debt. So, because you’re not getting a return for the work immediately, it’s almost as if you are investing work into the land in the hope that the land gives you a return on that investment you’ve made six or nine months down the line.

Farming had first of all that great effect. The second thing about farming was that actually to be a good farmer requires a hell of a lot more work than being a forager. And you know, as any farmer will tell you also, any job left undone often has huge consequences that can skate down the line. So, if you don’t fix the fence post, you’re going to lose a herd of sheep and spend months chasing those sheep. It creates more work.

And then there’s another dynamic which is really important in terms of shaping how agriculture shaped our attitude to work. For hunter gatherers, when times were good, these were times to relax the most. So, Ju/’hoansi for example, there’s a nut called the mongongo nut and they had this great quote, why should we farm when there’s so many mongongo nuts in the world? And during the prolific season of mongongo nuts, people worked less. So, when the season was great, people spent less effort working and more time playing and on leisure.

By contrast with farming, when the seasons are good, that’s when you work the hardest. You work the hardest to try and sustain and maintain that surplus. When you’re dependent on a crop of barley and some, you know, a herd of goats, you’ve effectively got eggs in one basket. And you live constantly, a drought, a flood, a frost, a blight and a plague away from potential famine.

CURT NICKISCH: How did that change our understanding of labor?

JAMES SUZMAN: Well, it, in the first instance it made a virtue of labor. So, labor became, there was a clear correspondence in agricultural societies, certainly at a subsistence farming level between those who worked hardest and those were more likely to survive risks.

The second issue which is the other critical one was actually in a societies where you had this kind of risks, scarcity became a real and fundamental issue. The threat of scarcity existed everywhere. So, people started to work very hard to accumulate and protect surpluses. And societies began to organize themselves and politics began to organize itself around the maintenance, control and often taking of people’s surpluses in order to provide that kind of long term protection.

So, suddenly you ended up with people expending more effort and energy, not just on producing surpluses to survive, but then battling one another potentially competing for one another with those surpluses. And out of those came lots of the economic norms and systems and ideas that actually sustain our economy today. This is, you know, this is where the idea of economics as the science of understanding how we distribute scarce resources came about. It’s a function of agriculture, agricultural revolution and the need for surpluses and really the fear of famine.

CURT NICKISCH: Of course the Industrial Revolution came out of agricultural societies. Is our understanding of work today fairly or unfairly so deeply rooted in this Industrial Revolution and the formation of our economic thinking at that time?

JAMES SUZMAN: Well, I would say it’s unfairly rooted. I mean we’re sitting on a series of economic norms that are, were great for agriculture and that we’re in a sense documented based on that accumulated knowledge, but which immediately began to become undone during the industrial revolution. Ideas that have become over time, much less pertinent, the more productive that we have become through industrialization.

So, suddenly this way of thinking empowered us to industrialize and empowered mass production. And, but at the same time it undid the economics of it. In many ways I think actually a better way of understanding what real economics of behavior now is to probably go back to hunter gatherers because we live in an era of such an astonishing and unprecedented abundance. Materially that’s actually this idea that we have, we valorize scarcity is something that really for most of us is not a reality.

And you know, we think, I mean an example I keep thinking of is in this COVID recession that we’re in, the biggest decline in economic growth in the U.K.’s, certainly since anybody’s been able to document it in U.K. history, but compared to the Great Depression when people were queuing outside soup kitchens, in this the great COVID depression, we’ve been given, incentivized by government to go and eat at fancy restaurants. And so that’s where the sort of viscerality of the scarcity, it just doesn’t, this is a, this is about trying to keep the steroidal abundance going rather than encountering real scarcity. And where there is scarcity at the moment, it’s really a problem of distribution, not supply.

CURT NICKISCH: Why when we are so productive, why is it that we still keep working as much as we do and work so heavily?

JAMES SUZMAN: Well, I think firstly I view it as an anthropologist, which is we are cultural creatures. We like certainty in life and we’re in a sense programmed by circumstances. We are what we’re born into, incredibly plastic brains. I mean it literally gets hardwired, our habits, our beliefs, our processes – you know, it really is why you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. A part of it is habit and culture. An established culture norm.

But then you can also take a step back from that and say well what are these norms? Because of course for people like the Ju/’hoansi and the hunter gatherers, they had cultural norms too. They were just different ones. What I find very interesting is to look at J. K. Galbraith, his Affluent Society, in that, you know, he wrote that book when he was a professor at Harvard and he effectively argued that he, that U.S. had already reached that economic promised land. That the U.S. riding the post war economic boom. And he said he was already observing and noticing the emergence of what he called a new class of worker. And this was people who chose work they loved rather than learn to love the work that they ended up getting.

People who just did work that fulfilled them. And he called that the new class. But he threw in one caveat. He said the caveat is, rarely effectively that you got a whole bunch of established growing vested interests in business. Trying to produce and compete with one another and sell stuff. And he threw the blame on, in effect, the, on the advertising agency in a sense. And with the advertising industry as sort of the peak of the industrial boom, of people trying to create needs that didn’t actually exist by effectively manipulating the public and so on.

So, Galbraith’s view in effect was that we develop this culture of consumption and that this entire sort of economic ecosystem emerged around it. And that is what has maintained in a sense this working culture that we have in some respects. Certainly when I got an upgrade in my iPhone from the previous one to the new one I’ve got, I can’t really tell much of a difference to be honest.

And there is this sort of sense of pointless upgrading and expenditure. And then of course there’s this think of what you’d call conspicuous consumption. You know, I’ll challenge anybody to be able to tell me the difference between a bottle of whisky that costs 30 pounds and a bottle of whiskey that costs 200 pounds in a blind taste test. And you know, but one has a great deal more symbolic capital than the other. And so, people start pursing these things and this is what happens when you’re in an era of incredible abundance.

CURT NICKISCH: It’s also an era of incredible wealth for some. And it’s also a time when we do see a future where machines and computers and machine learning, and robots will start doing many of the less pleasant and many of the more secure jobs that people have now.

There’ve been a lot of people forecasting what’s going to, what’s going to happen and also proposing different ways for, for societies to adjust to this. What do you make of what sort of being talked about now and what do you think needs to be talked about more?

JAMES SUZMAN: I mean it’s funny. When I look at that question of automation and increasing automation and its implications, I keep going back to Keynes in a sense, in that famous essay that he wrote. Keynes talked about how we have to recognize that automation spells the death of orthodox economics.

That’s effectively what he argued and it spells the death of orthodox economics because it spells effectively the end of scarcity and the end of the need for people to exchange labor and constantly with one another. And what he does say is he says, this will bring about an extraordinary change in morals and how we organize ourselves morally and socially. And I think that is the big leap that we’re going to have to come to terms with.

So, you know, you’re already seeing this manifest economically all over the place, in particular sort of my former industry which was mining – is hugely capital intensive. These generate very few jobs. They’re capital intensive because they require clever, sophisticated big machinery. And as you develop in an economy where machines are doing all the things, actually suddenly owning those machines becomes in a sense, I think this sort of interesting analogs in terms of looking at how slave owning societies economies were organized.

In a sense it means work becomes something that can be possessed. So, people can’t work themselves out of poverty in those kinds of circumstances. You can work as hard, you can work three jobs at the bottom of the economic food chain and you’re never going to get as rich as the guy who’s working one morning a week as a successful investor. It’s, the correlation between labor – automation has undone any kind of illusion that is a direct correspondence between labor and wealth.

And I think it means we’ve got to start embracing with and engaging with these really quite big social issues. I of course, why I’m happy that there’s so much discussion on it is that I don’t think anybody knows the answers. And I think often we resort instinctively to kind of tired historical analogies about whether it’s, socialism is bad and capitalism is good and all these kinds of crude stereotypes which were appropriate to maybe 100 years ago, but are no longer.

I think what we live in an era is where it’s incumbent upon us now to experiment. To use a hunter gatherer analogy as when first home sapiens went into the cold wastelands of Ice Age Europe, they had to feel their way through the environment. They had to trial and error to learn how to best organize themselves in order to survive and cope with these changes.

And I think we have to embark on a very open-minded era of experimentation where there’ve never been this many people in the planet. We’ve never had the kind of extreme environmental constraints that we have now based on carbon and so on. And I think it requires a sort of an acknowledgement that we don’t have the answers, but we do know, we do have an understanding of what some of the dynamics are and what some of the potential risks are.

And I think there’s some really good ideas coming out in different places. There’s been a great discussion on universal basic income and which has been happening in strange places, you know, governments talking very seriously, whether it’s Finland or New Zealand for example, about the four day week and coming into manifestos. And I think these are all things that we have to experiment, we have to try them on like new clothes and then if they don’t fit, we have to discard them and try something new. But we can’t know until we try them.

CURT NICKISCH: As an anthropologist what would you recommend to a manager, a leader in an organization to workers nowadays when it comes thinking about work differently? We’ve talked a lot about how as a society we have these choices ahead. What would you say to individuals?

JAMES SUZMAN: It’s a question that I thought a great deal about and it’s one that again, I try and bring this deep historical lens to and also of course my own lens, having been senior management in a mining multinational for a number of years. And what is interesting is how deeply evolutionary history tells us there’s a reason why we feel good when we do a good job. Why we get real pleasure when we execute a skill fantastically.

I mean you know, I keep going back. I can’t remember his name offhand, but there’s for example when Frederick Winslow Taylor’s efficiency movement was taking off, one of his big opponents, the head of this sort of coalition of basically small manufacturers’ unions in New York, you know, who was a cigar maker. His objection to Winslow Taylor was not that this efficiency would be bad for business or anything, but it was that it robbed people the joy of making, of doing, and in his case being a cigar maker.

We are a species born to work. We are the purposeful species. We are unsatisfied when we don’t have something to do. Even our leisure involves work you know. Anybody who plays half the laborious computer games on an Xbox or a Playstation. Actually most of your time you’re spending running around mimicking work in real life. Whether it’s hoarding diamonds or what have you.

And lots of us spend our leisure money on doing what hunter gatherers thought of as work. For hunter gatherers hunting and fishing was work. For us it’s an extremely expensive hobby. That many of us work 50 weeks a year so that we can get one week of fishing and hunting.

And I think there is. I think when we look in these broad historical times, what there is, the work that’s done best in the world and you know, our history of for example, civilization and objects is a history of things, work and love in a sense. I mean if you look for example, at the arc in St. Paul’s Cathedral, it’s a, you know, you can sense the kind of joy, satisfaction and completion people had when they produced it and made it. And that is really what I’d say, is that give people work that somehow gives them a sense of meaning and ables them to sort of bring and harness that extraordinary creativity and purposefulness that makes humans so interesting and capable.

CURT NICKISCH: James, this has been super interesting. Thank you so much for coming on the show to talk about this.

JAMES SUZMAN: It’s been my pleasure, a real pleasure to talk.

CURT NICKISCH: That’s James Suzman, anthropologist and the author of the book, “Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time.” This episode was produced by Mary Dooe. We get technical help from Rob Eckhardt. Adam Buchholz is our audio product manager.


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Trudeau warns of ‘consequences’ as Conservatives work to force debate on anti-corruption committee

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Opposition Conservatives will have to “face the consequences” of pressing ahead Tuesday with a motion that calls for the creation of a special “anti-corruption” committee of MPs that would scrutinize specific COVID-19 relief programs the Tories have flagged as being carried out unethically.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is holding a news conference at 9 a.m. ET and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.

In an interview with Toronto radio station RED FM Tuesday, Trudeau accused the Conservatives of playing political games as the government tries to focus on supporting Canadians through the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve said if they think we’re so corrupt then maybe they don’t have confidence in the government, and I think that’s something very important. If they want to make criticisms, they have to be willing to back it up in the House,” he said.

Trudeau said he does not want an election, and that an election at this time is not in the best interests of Canadians.

“But if the Conservatives are saying that this government is completely corrupt, then I think they have to face the consequences of that,” he said.

Liberal House leader Pablo Rodriguez has called the Conservative move irresponsible and suggested the Liberals may in turn deem the eventual vote on the motion a confidence matter.

“The Conservative motion that is there on the table, if it was to be debated tomorrow, would send a clear message that there is no confidence in the government,” Rodriguez told reporters Monday.

To style the committee as being focused on corruption, and to compel everyone from the prime minister to rank-and-file civil servants to testify, would snarl the work of government at a time when everyone ought to be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, Rodriguez said.

So the Conservatives’ gambit can’t be taken lightly, he said.

“They cross the line when they say that the ministers and the public servants will spend all their time working on this instead of working for Canadians,” he said.

“So, you know, when you do things there are consequences.”

Deltell calls Liberals’ plan ‘ridiculous’

Conservative House leader Gerard Deltell called the effort to paint the Tory motion as a matter of confidence “ridiculous.”

“That you are even entertaining such speculation demonstrates to me — as it would to all Canadians — the desperate ends to which the Liberal government will go to further its coverup of a very troubling scandal which reeks of corruption,” Deltell wrote in a letter to Rodriguez Monday, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

As political parties negotiated in public and behind the scenes Monday, the Tories had been coy about which of three potential motions they’d move forward with on their previously scheduled “opposition day” Tuesday, when they get to put a matter of their choice on the House of Commons agenda.

The first was the anti-corruption committee. Among other things, it would probe a decision to hand a contract to run a student grant program to WE Charity, an organization with long ties to the Liberals, as well as a ventilator purchase agreement given to a firm run by a former Liberal MP.

The second motion was about China’s national security law for Hong Kong, and the third related to Chinese high-tech company Huawei.

Quebec Conservative MP Pierre-Paul Hus then let slip midday Monday that the anti-corruption motion would be the one moving ahead; Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is expected to lay out his rationale for that decision on Tuesday morning before debate begins.

NDP to Liberals: ‘Calm down’

The NDP had weeks ago proposed the idea of a special committee that would focus exclusively on pandemic-related spending, an idea the Tories’ anti-corruption probe would amp up.

The Liberals countered with their own proposal for a COVID-19 committee, detailing their pitch Monday in a letter to the House leaders of the other parties.

They’re proposing one that focuses on pandemic-related spending, with six Liberal MPs and six members of the opposition parties. The Tories’ version would have 15 MPs, with the opposition holding the majority.

The Liberals’ approach is too broad, Deltell said.

“All Mr. O’Toole’s motion would do is to establish a committee with a focused mandate to review the most troubling reports related to your government’s pandemic response measures,” he wrote in his reply to Rodriguez.

“This would allow the 24 standing committees of the House to focus on their usual mandates, and how they intersect with the COVID-19 pandemic, while ensuring Parliament discharges its primary purpose: to hold the government to account.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s party is moving ahead with a motion that calls for the creation of a special ‘anti-corruption’ committee of MPs that would scrutinize specific COVID-19 relief programs. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus said earlier Monday he was concerned the Liberals would just stymie the work of a new committee much as they have done with existing ones, filibustering proceedings to avert votes.

He suggested, however, that to toss the country into an election over it would be folly.

Should the Liberals declare the eventual vote on the motion a confidence matter, how the NDP and Bloc Quebecois vote would be crucial in determining whether the minority Liberal government fell.

“Our message to the Liberals is, calm down, we have work to do,” Angus said.

“Work with us.”

Documents dropped Monday

More light was shed Monday on the interaction between WE Charity and the government with the release of dozens of pages of documents previously demanded by the finance committee, including details of fees paid to, and expenses covered for, members of the Trudeau family who participated in WE events.

The charity had previously said Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the prime minister’s wife, had been paid a $1,500 speaking fee for one appearance, and the documents released Monday also disclosed that the charity covered $23,940.76 in expenses for eight appearances between 2012 and 2020.

The Commons’ ethics committee has also demanded to know how much money Trudeau, and his family, had received in speakers’ fees over the last several years. Trudeau released details of his own Monday — about $1.3 million — a figure and details previously disclosed when he ran for leadership of the party in 2013.

But the Liberals said his family’s records were off limits.

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9 Cheap Fitness Trackers That Actually Work

Cheap fitness trackers are a great and affordable way to keep track and monitor your daily activity.

Going perfectly with smartphones, a fitness tracker helps the wearer monitor their physical activity throughout the day be it steps, swims, boxing/MMA, running or weights and allow you to view all the data on a smartphone app.

So what is the problem? There are just so many of them now. Maybe a bit too many! Popular brands like Fitbit dominate the conversation when it comes to fitness trackers, and while Fitbit is good, there are many different trackers out there that do things in their own way and sometimes even better.

With so many types of cheap fitness trackers, their features affect the design and the price – the two things you are no doubt considering right now.

If your goal is just to count steps and not have to charge it very often, then you can go for a subtle fitness tracker with no screen.

But if your goals are bigger than that, like training for a marathon you’ll have to spend a little more for features like a display, GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring. Whether or not the fitness tracker is waterproof and if you can swim with it is another thing you may wish to consider.

Some of these fitness tracker can GPS track by connecting to your phone, as long as you don’t mind taking your phone on a run with you. And remember to check out the app for each tracker. The Fitbit app is very different from Samsung Health for example, and this might affect your buying decision.

Hopefully we can narrow down the choices for cheap fitness trackers so you can grab yourself or a loved one a bargain!

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit has managed to successfully implement a redesign of its most popular product with the Charge 3. If you’re a first-time buyer, you’re unlikely to find a cheap fitness tracker with as many features on the market at such a decent price. Charge 3 tracks your Steps, Distance, Calories burned, Active Minutes, Floors Climbed, Heart Rate, and even your Sleep Stages. You can connect the device to your phone’s GPS if you want to map your runs as well.

Another great feature is that you can get a full set of on-screen notifications such as Caller ID, texts, Calendar, WhatsApp, and others. It even has its own Weather app.

Given that Charge 3 came two years after the Charge 2, it’s probably a warranted upgrade. Particularly if you want to appreciate the longer battery life (7 days) and full waterproofing (no more taking it off before showers). It is a worthy upgrade to Fitbit’s most popular-ever fitness tracker.

We rate it: 💪💪💪💪

Fitbit Versa Lite Edition

On the outside, the Versa Lite is basically the same as the original Versa minus the two buttons on the right side. On the inside, it loses a few features: Wi-Fi, altimeter, Fitbit Coach on-screen workouts and the ability to store music.

But don’t worry! It’s still brilliant, and none of those features are really missed. It’s much more affordable, lasts for 4-5 days on a single charge, looks beautiful and has a lot of compatible straps and other accessories.

The newer Versa 2 has a better screen, plus altimeter, on-screen workouts and music, but costs around £50 more.

We rate it: 💪💪💪

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4

This is a decent, cheap fitness tracker at just half the price of the cheapest Fitbit fitness trackers, Xiaomi’s latest Mi Smart Band 4 brings you activity, health and sleep tracking at an incredible price. The enhanced colour AMOLED panel alone makes it worth it, though it won’t entirely compete with a smartwatch or smartphone for notifications. On the plus side, Xiaomi is taking advantage of the device’s waterproofing with its swim tracking functions.

Xiaomi should come up with better charging solutions that don’t involve removing the tracker from the band, but other than that Mi Band 4 is difficult to fault at its current price.

We rate it: 💪💪💪💪

Withings Move

The Move is a stylish fitness tracker from Withings that’s great for anyone who wants to keep things stylish and simple. With simplicity at its core, the fitness tracker only does the basics – activity and sleep tracking. The move does not measure heart rate – but the things that it does do, it does them well. Another bonus is the analogue form factor, which keeps things clean and easy to follow.

It has an 18-month battery life, which is obviously a major selling point, and the customisable designs are a big appeal too – you can change everything from the strap to the watch face, as well as the colour of the tracker dial. A heart rate sensor would be a real bonus, but it’s an understandable exclusion when you consider the price and it’s other features like waterproofing, sleep tracking, and great app support. Everything else about this fitness tracker is easy to love.

We rate it: 💪💪💪💪

Misfit Ray

It’s easy to recommend the Misfit Ray. This fitness tracker is really good-looking and the choice of colours makes it even more appealing to suit each individual wearer. Tactile feedback is a real bonus and it compares really well with other fitness trackers in the same price range.

Battery life is long lasting and the app is really good too. A lot of people find that they’re motivated to get out there and get fit in no time.

We rate it: 💪💪💪💪

Fitbit Inspire HR

Inspire HR fitness tracker features cover the basics rather well – it counts your steps, calories burned, active minutes, distance travelled, heart rate, advanced Sleep Stages measurement, swim tracking, guided relaxation breathing, the ability to auto-detect workouts with reasonable accuracy, and notifications.

You can connect this fitness tracker to your phone’s GPS just like the other top-end Fitbit devices. It’s missing an altimeter (so won’t count the floors you climb), but otherwise is just as capable as the more expensive Charge 3 that we covered earlier.

The heart-rate monitor boosts this fitness trackers exercise analysis and makes its sleep tracking far more accurate. It’s a major step up for the company from the previous entry-level Fitbit Inspire and well worth the extra money.

At a great price, this light, smart-looking device with solid features in well worth it.

We rate it: 💪💪💪💪

Honor Band 5

Honor’s newest budget fitness tracker packs a punch, despite appearing as just a minor upgrade over 2018’s Band 4. At its current price, Honor Band 5 is one of the best cheap fitness trackers on the market.

It’s detailed workout options, smart sleep tracking and even blood oxygen monitoring mean it has some advanced set of features that compete with more expensive devices. The price and list of functions really makes it a noteworthy fitness tracker that deserves your attention.

We rate it: 💪💪💪

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

The Gear Fit2 Pro is a cheap fitness tracker that works well if you want a sleek GPS tracker that works well on Android or iOS devices. It has many more features and a much better screen than the similarly built Fitbit Charge 2, but costs a decent bit more.

Samsung has made a fitness tracker that costs more than its competitors, but much less than Samsung smartwatches, while at the same time packing in most of the same features.

In some ways it does try to do too many smartwatch things with a screen that is not built for that. You can buy it if you like the design, but if it’s not a deal breaker for you, it’s probably better to go for something cheaper with the same basic GPS functionality.

We rate it: 💪💪💪

Huawei Band 2 Pro

As far as cheap fitness trackers go in terms of features, design and performance, the Huawei Band 2 Pro is definitely a recommended purchase for anyone looking to stay fit and healthy.

It’s packed with plenty of features like GPS fitness tracking, heart and oxygen data, messaging and calls, a relaxation aid and sleep tracking – with data stored, outlined and presented on the Huawei app.

The Huawei Band 2 Pro is different than other trackers on this list, because it takes a holistic approach to health by targeting both mental and physical wellbeing.

At it’s reasonable price users can keep track of their health, maintain or improve fitness goals, sleep better, relax and set personalized goals.

We rate it: 💪💪💪💪

This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 17th August, 2020.

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Your Work Peak Is Earlier Than You Think

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