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Ancient and modern

Why are we no longer proud of work

2 December 2023

9:00 AM

2 December 2023

9:00 AM

More and more people are giving up work on the grounds of their mental-health problems, allowing them to live off state benefits. That raises the question:  is there something about the nature of work today that makes it seem so unrewarding?

In the ancient world there was no welfare system. The educated, wealthy elite apart (2 per cent), most had to survive off a plot of land or their manual skills (more than 340 occupations are recorded), hoping thereby to produce a surplus to meet other needs.

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