The Servant Problem

| 4/7/2011 10:50:38 AM


This article was originally published at

A longer version of this essay appears in "Lines of Work," the Spring 2011 issue of Lapham's Quarterly. (You can subscribe to it by clicking here.) TomDispatch and Utne Reader thank the editors of that elegant journal for allowing us to preview Lapham's essay here.  

To read more articles on work in America, see our January-February issue on the topic.  


Man must be doing something, or fancy that he is doing something, for in him throbs the creative impulse; the mere basker in the sunshine is not a natural, but an abnormal man. 
                                    -- Henry George 

The news media these days look to outperform one another in their showings of concern for the lost battalion of America’s unemployed. Consult any newspaper, wander the Internet or the television talk-show circuit, and at the top of the column or the hour the headline is jobs. Jobs, the bedrock of America’s world-beating prosperity, the cornerstones of its future comfort and well-being -- gone to Mexico or China, deleted from payrolls in Michigan and Ohio, mothballed in the Arizona desert. 

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