Frase, Peter. Hipsters, food stamps, and the politics of resentment. Jacobin. 2011 Winter; 1:27–30. Available from: http://jacobinmag.com/winter-2011/hipsters-food-stamps-and-the-politics-of-resentment/.
Frase traces the roots of the work ethic to resentment felt by those who have submitted to the unpleasant discipline of capitalist employment, and who envy others who are perceived to have eluded its arduous yoke. Such resentment often motivates hostility to the beneficiaries of public-assistance programs. The envious rationalize their resentment by what Frase calls producerism, the belief that social rewards should accrue to those who produce society’s goods and services. Frase points out that post-industrial capitalism has undermined any rational basis that producerism may once have had, because of the increasing disconnect between economic reward and socially valued production. At the same time, the increasingly harsh conditions of employment (and unemployment) have increased the resentment that is the real source of the emotional connection to the work ethic. Frase concludes by urging the abandonment of the work ethic in favor of an ethic of economic and social rights.
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