Philosophy of Management 1 (1):41-48 (2001)

Robin Attfield
Cardiff University
This paper affirms the continuing importance of full employment, as the best prospect for most people of the goods of meaningful work and of self-respect, and welcomes the failure of new technology in Western societies to engender mass unemployment, despite predictions to the contrary. It also replies to criticismsfrom John White (in Education and the End of Work) of a previous paper of mine, 'Work and the Human Essence (1984). Employing a different sense of 'meaningful work related to agents major goals in life. White claims that little work is meaningful, or capable of becoming so, and that social policy shouldrecognise this and exonerate most people from expectations of employment. His argument embodies a distinctive understanding of human flourishing, and a critique of my earlier argument from the human essence. This paper defends that argument, plus a separate argument of my earlier paper from self-respect,which White apparently ignores, for meaningful work as crucial to human flourishing. Most employment, I maintain, is capable of being modified so as to become meaningful work, and since this is most peoples best prospect ofthat good, policies of full employment should not be discarded, either in the West or in the Third World
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1740-3812
DOI 10.5840/pom20011127
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,878
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Work and the Human Essence.Robin Attfield - 1984 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 1 (1):141-150.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Poetics of Meaningful Work: An Analogy to Speech Acts.Todd Mei - 2018 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 45 (1):1-21.
Sustainability and Management.Robin Attfield - 2015 - Philosophy of Management 14 (2):85-93.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
52 ( #199,753 of 2,438,939 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #283,008 of 2,438,939 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes