Work (philosophy)

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The work in the philosophical sense covers all processes of the conscious creative discussion of the human being . The meaning of these processes is provided by the self-determined and responsible acting people with their individual needs, skills and views in the context of the current natural conditions and social working conditions.

Word history

According to Otfried Höffe , the word comes from the Latin arvus for arable land as an expression for its cultivation. The word work developed from the Old High German arabeit via the Middle High German arebeit , words that at that time often meant hardship and need . There is a relationship to the Old Church Slavonic rabota (from rabu suspected = servant, a serf ') that deals with slave labor or forced labor can be translated, and the word from the 20th century robot was formed. Pre-philosophical usage has three meanings:

  1. Work as hardship, as opposed to leisure
  2. Work as an activity to secure a livelihood and to improve living conditions
  3. Work as the result of these efforts : as an achievement, “work” .

In anthropological and philosophical usage, work means the "activity of people in dependence on nature and natural need for the purpose of maintaining and improving life."

Purpose and aim of the work

The sociologist Hans Paul Bahrdt describes work as "a skillful, continuous, orderly, strenuous, useful action that is directed towards a goal that lies beyond the completion of the work". People who initially work for a living want to achieve social recognition and a meaningful life for themselves through collaborative work . The artist's activity is an example of the fact that, from a material point of view, work can also appear purposeless. Ernst Cassirer describes art as a creative process of shaping, with which the artist conveys his understanding of visible, tangible or audible phenomena in symbolic forms to people using instrumental media . According to Friedrich Hegel's dialectic , people with their personal interests and work priorities contradict various goals , such as:

A working person is more or less in competition with people in other social groups . Today, human work is essentially not seen in the exercise of isolated individual activities, but always includes the intersubjective interaction of people in " action communities " , that is, working together in "work and action systems" .

Work as the subject of scientific theories

Anyone who deals with the term “work” from a philosophical point of view comes across a dilemma : Although “work” in its variety of forms is a constant of human existence , there are only a few well-known scholars who have learned it from economics , ethics or theology have picked out. Work is predominantly synonymous with “effort” , “endeavor” , “profession” , “service to the community” , “gainful employment” , “useful action” , “interaction” , “production” , “creating” , “activity” , “ Action or action ” etc. In the sociology of work , work is mainly classified according to special socio-cultural characteristics and partially dealt with under technical , institutional or economic aspects. Philosophers developed different, contemporary views on work, with the “concept of work” itself being subject to historical change.

From antiquity to the beginning of the early modern era

In the archaic epoch of Greek antiquity around 700 BCE, the poet Hesiod describes the activities of the peasants in the epic works and days . He emphasizes the arduous work in agriculture as a source of honest life and just material prosperity. However, this ethical approach to work and life alone is not helpful if a person wishes to overcome the hardships of work, which completely fills his life. Ancient Greek philosophers, such as Socrates or his pupils Plato and Xenophon , do not recognize the “conscious creative confrontation” of man, which goes beyond everyday efforts and is aimed at self-realization and gain of knowledge , in physical- manual activities , but see primarily contemplative leisure as a basic condition for mental creativity . From antiquity to the Middle Ages , the opinion is widespread that only those who escape everyday work constraints have time for their spiritual needs and can clear their heads for new knowledge and creative action . The so privileged is thus closer to the divine realm than the human being forced into economic activities. Aristotle introduces the philosophical category  " Poiein " ( ancient Greek ποιεῖν; German: doing, creating, causing ). It comes close to the concept of work, but does not specifically mean work in the modern sense. Rather, his action-theoretical considerations, as with other philosophers of antiquity, mainly relate to the members of the intellectual, political and military aristocracy and their efforts to achieve the virtues recognized at the time . Scientific research and teaching, which, according to modern understanding, are forms of work, consider Plato and Aristotle as particularly elegant activities in leisure. In the self-contemplation , Marcus Aurelius places the work in the ethical context of the stoic lifelong striving for self-formation. The ancient philosophers, on the other hand, accept the laborious work of manual workers, which is often characterized by economic hardship, as a matter of course, less problematical contingent fact. The scholars deal with this work and the exploitation of slaves essentially only in connection with legal, ethical and economic questions that concern the original occupation of labor resources and products. A slave is - as codified in Roman law - not viewed as a human being, but rather, alongside land, livestock or other resources, as an object owned by a free person who controls him.

From early Christianity to the dawn of the early modern period , apostolic scholars mostly engaged in theological debates about the work. They often discuss the question of whether manual work prevents people from looking for God or should be viewed as a form of worship. This topic is discussed, for example, by Paulus of Tarsus , Augustine , Basil of Caesarea , Benedict of Nursia , Constantine of Mananalis , Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart . With reference to the Sermon on the Mount and Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians , different, sometimes contradicting views emerge in the theological discussion on the sentence: "If you don't want to work, you shouldn't eat either." During the Reformation , Huldrych Zwingli developed and spread , Johannes Calvin , Martin Luther and other evangelical scholars of the 16th century the idea that work is a predetermined duty that man must undertake in order to achieve God's blessing, also in terms of social prestige and well-being . The resulting “Protestant work ethic” defines work as the primary purpose of human life. Man can then enjoy the fruits of labor in godly charity and leisure. The humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam initiated in 1516, the first publication of the magazine Utopia of Thomas More (Latin title: De optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia ). In this utopia “From the best state of the state of the new island Utopia”, More describes a secular state without private property , whose inhabitants are obliged to communal education and work” . In contrast to Luther, who advocates the thesis that before God's judgment only divine grace counts for man, Erasmus defends in his work De libero arbitrio (1524) the view of the Roman Church that the individual can do good with his free will , so he can also obtain the grace of God through his work.

Age of Enlightenment to Hegel's Philosophy

The Age of Enlightenment begins in the first half of the 17th century . Scholars are increasingly breaking away from theological views, turning more to the natural sciences and developing secular theories of natural law and the philosophy of the state that have an effect on the concept of work. Working in the field of tension between rule , property and competition is recognized as a determining factor for wealth and power in the state (cf. Thomas Hobbes , William Petty , John Locke , François Quesnay , Francis Hutcheson , David Hume , Jean-Jacques Rousseau among others). The Protestant conception of work is continued in Puritanism and in the 18th century in the faiths founded by John Wesley and George Whitefield , which made a decisive contribution to the economic development of Great Britain and its North American colonies. Political economy emerged as the forerunner of modern economics by the middle of the 18th century . The subject of this science is initially the production factors labor , land and capital . From then on, the focus of the concept of work is “gainful employment” , the quality and productivity of which is discussed in connection with the advancing division of labor and the goods / money relationships. Adam Smith and David Ricardo examine how the "work" the costs , wages and prices on the market affected, and justify the labor theory of value . A central theme of political economy at that time is the connection between “work and property” (cf. Charles Fourier , Henri de Saint-Simon , Pierre-Joseph Proudhon ). The economic and philosophical discourses mainly revolve around the two traditional views of the original acquisition of property : the "occupation theory" and the "labor theory" .

During the Enlightenment up to the 19th century, German philosophers defined work in terms of moral philosophy and declared it a moral duty and condition of existence for human existence (cf. Immanuel Kant , Johann Gottfried Herder , Johann Gottlieb Fichte , Friedrich Schelling and others). At the same time, economic and social science connections are increasingly coming into focus. With the "categories of" work "and" exchange "Hegel tries to capture the whole of bourgeois society according to its economic structure. In the Phenomenology of Spirit , in the chapter on self-awareness , Hegel deals with the dialectical relationship between domination and servitude . The servant works for the master who enjoys the fruits of the servant's labor while remaining in the naturalness of his existence . The servant, on the other hand, transforms his own and external nature by working with things. He gets to know himself through work and develops a self-confidence from it. The “great thing” about Hegel's “phenomenology” is that he “grasps the self-creation of man as a process” and “understands the objective man [...] as the result of his own work”. However, the "work that Hegel alone knows and recognizes [...] is abstractly spiritual".

Significance of work with Marx and Engels

From the middle of the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels analyze the work from a philosophical, historical and economic perspective. A detailed description can be found in Capital Volume I, the fifth chapter:

“Work is first of all a process between man and nature, a process in which man mediates, regulates and controls his metabolism with nature through his own deeds. He confronts the natural substance itself as a natural power. He sets in motion the natural forces belonging to his body, arms and legs, head and hand, in order to appropriate the natural substance in a form that is useful for his own life. By acting on nature outside of him through this movement and changing it, he at the same time changes his own nature. He develops the potencies slumbering in it and subjects the play of its powers to his own subordination. "

"In the place of the divine absolute in Hegel, the material-economic absolute of the production process or work as the all-grounding reality appears in Marx." In an essay on the " Part of work in the incarnation of the ape, " Friedrich Engels writes: " Work is the source of all wealth, say political economists. It is this - besides nature, which supplies it with the material which it transforms into wealth. But it is infinitely more than this. It is the first basic condition of all human life to such an extent that we have to say in a certain sense: It created man himself. ”Some aspects and concepts of work that Karl Marx in the writings On the criticism of political economy and used in his main work, Capital , are the subject of sociological and political discourse to this day .

Concrete work

Working people always carry out real, that is to say concrete, activities and thus usually perform functional, targeted concrete work . Marx calls this “ concrete, useful work ”. According to the abilities , skills and needs of the individual and their individual life situation, concrete work is infinitely diverse in terms of form and content. Also under the aspect of individual expediency and goal setting, the active person determines what work is to be done by him. Concrete work requires the use of his labor - that always means a quantity of “living” work - as well as the provision and use of “objectified” work in the form of necessary production and food . The use and processing of these resources incurs costs in the commodity-producing society; therefore the product of his labor belongs to him . As the owner of the work product, he has - depending on the degree of goal achievement - a use value . Marx writes about “ concrete, useful work ”:

"As a creator of use values, as useful work, work is therefore a human condition of existence that is independent of all forms of society, an eternal natural necessity in order to mediate the metabolism between human beings and nature, i.e. human life."

Abstract work

The "dual character of the labor represented in the commodities " postulated by Marx is based on the fact that the use value of a commodity created by means of concrete labor ( see above ) represents the basic prerequisite for its marketability, but there is still no statement about the amount of the exchange value . The materialistic worldview According However, the exchange value of a commodity rises primarily of that was spent on work. For this reason Marx introduces the concept of “ abstract work ”. He writes about the dual character of work:

"All work is on the one hand the expenditure of human labor in the physiological sense, and in this property of equal human or abstract human labor it forms the value of the goods."

"On the other hand, all work is the expenditure of human labor in a special purpose-determined form, and in this capacity of concrete useful work it produces use values."

Starting from “ abstract labor ”, which itself has the character of exchange value, Marx developed the labor value theory founded by Adam Smith . This theory, according to which the labor expended is decisive for the value of the goods, is today however largely disproved among economists . However, forms of abstract work currently play a fundamental role in job evaluation within the framework of wage and salary collective agreements and the evaluation criteria defined therein. At least the value of the commodity “ wage labor ” is undeniably seen in connection with “ abstract labor ” with reference to the Geneva scheme under aspects of “ wage equity ” .

Lively and objectified work

Marx describes human activity in ongoing work processes as " living work ", whereas under the term " objectified work " he subsumes all use values ​​that people have produced. " Objectified work ", that is, the products of work, are consumed or consumed by humans either as consumer goods , or they are used in work processes as a means of production. In contrast to “ living work ”, “ objectified work ” in the means of production represents a dormant workforce and information potential that people use more or less appropriately in work processes and thus activate them. Marx recognizes the special importance of the means of production and work for the development of human society in the fact that they are capacitors and accumulators for past work that people can set free again in later work processes with increased productivity through “ living work ”.

Alienation of work

The Marxian concept of work not only refers to gainful activity, but in its anthropological dimension includes all forms of activity that are useful for human existence. Alienation of work means that the social relationships that people enter into in the production of their life, although created by people, confront them as an alien power that they no longer have at their disposal, but rather the relationships about them. Only when people do their work consciously and without class antagonisms will that promote all-round human development instead of inhibiting it.

The "alienation of work" under capitalist production relations forces wage workers and the like. a. to sell their labor to the owners of the means of production. The exchange value of the commodity labor is wages, that is, money. Wage workers are therefore interested in the intrinsic value of their work results, which manifests itself in the quality, costs and prices of the goods and services produced, mainly under aspects of wage security and job retention. A quite comparable primary interest situation can be found on the part of the employed managers, who with very high incomes do nothing other than "alienated (intellectual) work" and are usually only willing to take responsibility for the economic, ecological and social consequences of their decisions. if the regulatory framework of state laws with corresponding criminal prosecution measures compel them to do so.

Work ethics as the basis of the work society

When analyzing the social production process, Marx and Engels primarily have in mind the capitalist "labor society" that developed in the 19th century and its main features to this day. Like Hegel, Marx and Engels define the concept of freedom as an insight into necessity . In this way, in agreement with representatives of German idealism , they lift people who act out of free will , for whom work is a vital necessity, from the mass of those who are forced to be exploited as vassals , bondmen or even slaves.

Other theories leading to the "working society" followed, for example, Max Weber in his work at the beginning of the 20th century : Protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism , or Max Scheler , who saw people and their actions as part of a predetermined phenomenological ethics of values . Ernst Bloch et al. Expresses a similar ethical view of work . a. in "Stachel der Arbeit" with the following sentences:

“Those who are lazy in the long run, as well as those who are lonely in the long run, stay in the unbearable state of hollow existence in different ways, disturbed and out of order. […] Man's now and here, without doing, does not appeal to him; not least because it could be so excellent and it is not. "

- Ernst Bloch

Like Hegel and Marx, Bloch also assigns work to the “realm of necessity” . The "realm of necessity" and the work of man is his from a Marxist perspective dialectical reversal finally in a communist learn utopia, the desirable "realm of freedom" .

In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche made an ironic reference to the 19th century debate about self-determined and other-determined work in his aphoristic work The Happy Science :

Work is getting a good conscience more and more on its side: The tendency to enjoy is already called the 'need for relaxation' and is beginning to feel ashamed of itself. 'You owe it to your health' - that's how you talk when you're caught out on a country trip. Yes, it could soon get to the point where you don't give in to a penchant for vita contemplativa (that is, to go for a walk with thoughts and friends) without self-contempt and a guilty conscience. "

- Friedrich Nietzsche

In dealing with the theories of the 19th century on the concept of work as an economic and philosophical category, numerous philosophemes on work were developed up into the 20th century (cf. Georg Simmel , Ferdinand Tönnies , John Dewey , George Herbert Mead , Georg Lukács , Antonio Gramsci et al). "In the debates of the 19th and early 20th centuries, three concepts of work can be distinguished: work as rational action, work as play or art, work as moral action."

Economic and ergonomic theories since the end of the 19th century


The labor theory of value developed by Marx was refuted by neoclassical theory as early as the second half of the 19th century . Economists such as Alfred Marshall , William Stanley Jevons , Léon Walras and Vilfredo Pareto analyze the price / benefit ratios in the market more precisely , taking into account the psychologically justified decision-making behavior of market participants, and publish basic theories and mathematical models for the development of the marginal utility school . In addition, the neoclassical ties in with the ideas of classical economics , according to which the market, guided by an "invisible hand", strives for an ideal balance . Although cyclically recurring crises regularly result in social upheaval, especially on the labor market , the idea of ​​the "invisible hand" persists to some extent among representatives of neoliberalism and the free market . In the first half of the 20th century, u. a. Joseph Schumpeter and John Maynard Keynes describe the destructive phenomena and economic crises that occur in the market economy that affect the labor market , and develop theories to prevent them. Schumpeter predicts the development of a future socialist planned economy in order to overcome the capitalist economic crises . According to the economic theory established by Keynes, aggregate demand is the decisive variable for gainful employment . Financial, fiscal and social policy interventions by the state and the demand from the public sector can mitigate or even prevent crises on the labor market after Keynes . John Kenneth Galbraith is of the opinion that the tacit readiness of market participants to come to terms with the marginal utility of goods is reflected in the reduction in working hours. " Within the 20th century - with rising wages - working hours have shrunk to around half the weekly hours ". In economics and economic policy, which relate to work in a market economy , theories of Keynesianism (cf., inter alia, John Kenneth Galbraith, Gunnar Myrdal , Paul A. Samuelson and Joseph E. Stiglitz ) compete with neoliberal and radical market theories (cf. among other things, Walter Eucken , Friedrich August von Hayek , Milton Friedman , José Piñera or Hans-Werner Sinn ).

The theories and models of state planned economy are since the economic collapse of real socialism viewed in economics as historically obsolete around the 1990 levels. In the 21st century, scientific and political discourses about work in the planned economy are essentially only taking place with a view to the communist-led economic systems in Vietnam or China .

What is noticeable in economics as a whole is that in all theories and models work is mainly analyzed in its abstract form of value , whereas processes of concrete living work receive less scientific attention.

Business administration

Starting from the camera sciences in the early 19th century - a combination of action science and political economy with law and political science - business administration developed at the same time as economics. "The object of knowledge of this science is primarily the individual economic decision-making unit of the company with all its economic processes." Business administration analyzes and models the processes of internal work and action systems , whereby the work - unlike in more abstract economics - examines its concrete and abstract form becomes. The labor costs, i.e. the exchange values ​​of abstract labor in the form of wages and salaries, are planned, recorded and analyzed within the framework of accounting , operational accounting and cost accounting . The company organization examines the function- or process-oriented structure and process organization and thus also takes a closer look at the concrete work within the framework of special business administration . (See Eugen Schmalenbach , Heinrich Nicklisch , Erich Gutenberg , Erich Kosiol , Hans Ulrich , Jürgen Weber and others) From the connection of special business administration with engineering and the beginnings of occupational medicine , the specialist areas of industrial science emerged in the 20th century.

Development of ergonomics

End of the 19th century, the development of interdisciplinary science begins with a different focus, such as job design , job evaluation , time management , technological process planning or management theory . Frederick Winslow Taylor is regarded as the founder of ergonomics , whose principles of scientific management were decisive for the design of gainful employment in the 20th century (and in some cases to this day). In addition to Taylor's economic and technological principles, the physical and psychological stresses of factory work and their effects on the health , performance and readiness of employees are recognized and examined as problem areas of operational management in industrial companies . An example of this are the laboratory tests carried out by Emil Kraepelin in 1890 on “Hygiene at work” in order to research the connections between fatigue and exercise and to show performance curves in work curves. In addition to Taylor's principles, the findings of occupational medicine are incorporated into ergonomics and will become essential elements of ergonomics , occupational health and safety and occupational psychology up to occupational therapy by the middle of the 20th century . In 1920, the psychologist Fritz Giese published the lecture Psychotechnology and the Taylor System , in which he critically acknowledged Taylor's principles from the standpoint of applied psychology . Giese was one of the founders of ergonomics in Germany during the 1920s and began to publish a multi-volume manual on ergonomics. As part of this compendium, the book Philosophy of Work was published in 1932 , in which the work was philosophically interpreted based on the scientific theory of work under the sections logic , epistemology , aesthetics , ethics and metaphysics .

The internal division of labor advocated by Taylor is also geared towards separating mentally demanding work from simple manual activities. Building on the division of labor according to the Babbage principle, it comes under criticism under the term Taylorism . In 1920 , the social psychologist Kurt Lewin sees Taylorism as “a degradation of work through the extreme division of labor without regard to the soul of the worker, in short a consumption by the worker in the service of production according to the wear and amortization calculations applicable to machines .” The psychologist Willy Hellpach In 1922, as part of a »group production«, developed a concept for the holistic performance of tasks as a unit of "planning, executing and controlling" . Hellpach recognizes a form of work organization in group work , “which counteracts the atomization and emptying of meaning in factory work”. In the USA Elton Mayo initiated the Hawthorne work studies from the mid-1920s . With the investigations in Hawthorne, Mayo proves that it is not wage incentives, working hours, breaks or workplace equipment that are decisive for long-term work performance, but primarily the relationships in the work group. In doing so, he established the human relations direction that has been fundamental to organizational development since the 1950s . Until the end of the 20th century, concepts of group work in industry could only prevail to a limited extent against assembly line production , which was shaped by Taylorism . In 1953, the philosopher Georges Friedmann noted a “global trend towards the decline of holistic professions” and an increasing “need in industry for ever more perfect machines”, which led to the automation of the work processes systematically linked in flow production . Ultimately, automation frees people from performing repetitive, similar intellectual or manual tasks and frees them from being tied to the rhythm of the technical facility.

Abolition of the concept of work since the middle of the 20th century

In the scientific theories and life-world views of the people, work in the industrial society of the 20th century appears primarily as employment-related, shortened work-sharing activity of individual workers. This reductionist conception of work leads to the philosophical question of the relationship to social interaction and communication . Important philosophers of the 20th century such as Karl Popper , Max Horkheimer , Theodor W. Adorno or Jürgen Habermas criticize the “ all-founding ” evolutionary role of work in Marx and Engels with different intentions and recognize in it a supposed continuation of the “ philosophy of Hegel ”. The production paradigm for deriving anthropological and sociological relationships resulting from Marx's concept of work is often rejected in sociological and system-theoretical discourses as too collectivistic and too holistic . Karl Popper describes Marx as a “methodological collectivist” who “believes that it is the 'system of economic conditions' as such that brings about the undesirable consequences - a system of institutions that can only be explained by its dependence on the means of production, but cannot be traced back to the individual individuals, their relationships and actions. "

Hannah Arendt introduced the term work society in the middle of the 20th century . She sees work as a compulsion to maintain life, to which man is constantly subject from birth to death. In her work “ Vita activa or Vom aktivigen Leben ”, Arendt distinguishes between three activities: work, manufacture and action. Without devices and tools that humans manufacture “to make work easier and to shorten working hours, human life could also be nothing but effort and work.” The “animal laborans” is the being that only works. For the animal laborans it is “like a miracle that as a human being it is also and at the same time a being who knows and inhabits a world; From the standpoint of Homo fabers , it is like a miracle, like a revelation from a divine, that there should be something like meaning in this world he has created. "

For Arendt, acting and speaking represent the “ highest and most humane activities of the vita activa ”. According to the principles of Taylorism prevailing at the time, the work term only subsumes simple, work-related activities that are dominated by the interactive, communicative actions of people and socially mediated. The conceptual reduction of work to the activities of isolated individuals, largely abstracted from the socially necessary organization and communication in work processes, involuntarily reveals the alienation of work. Arendt writes: “(In) its final stage the working society is transformed into a society of jobholders , and this demands little more than automatic functioning from those who belong to it, as if the life of the individual were already completely submerged in the river of the life process that dominates the species, and as if the only active, individual decision was to let go of oneself, as it were, to give up one's individuality, or to numb the sensations that still register the toil and hardship of life, and then completely "Calms" the better and smoother to "function". "

In 1968 Jürgen Habermas dealt with Hegel's “Jenenser Philosophy of Mind” in his work Technology and Science as “Ideology” . In it Habermas formulates what, in his opinion, is still open philosophical question about the relationship between "work and interaction". In 1981 he answered this question in his main work “ Theory of communicative action ” in favor of the “communication paradigm”. After that he becomes the main heir of "Critical Theory" and "Philosophy of Practice" . "Drafts of a modern practical philosophy that adhere to the production paradigm have since been suspected of being out of date or of being overcome by the" theory of communicative action "." The questionable separation of “work and interaction” or “production and communication” and the a priori setting of communication relationships only seem to solve a philosophical chicken-and-egg problem : Do people speak to one another in work and action systems because they work or work together together because they want to talk to each other? Habermas and Arendt reduce the concept of work more or less to instrumental action or practical activities, the meaningful execution of which is only conceivable within the framework of prevailing communication processes.

The practical philosophy of the philosopher Helmut Seidel , which can be described as a historical-materialistic identity philosophy , moves in the field of tension between work and dialogical interaction . As a contemporary of Jürgen Habermas of the same age, he “assumes that the reasonable reproduction of a humane existence is dependent on work in the sense of the fundamental, elementary form of human activity, conscious action, and that formal, abstract work is elementary Generic activity of each individual, as the simplest and common life activity, enables a meaningful and recognized existence of the human being in the first place. " Wilhelm Schmid as a philosopher of the art of living in a lecture on work-life balance 2012 under more individualistic premises comes to similar conclusions:" Work is all that what I do in relation to myself and my life in order to be able to lead a beautiful and affirmative life. [...] However, it seems desirable to be able to experience 'abundance' and 'fulfillment' in every work, due to the diverse networking with others, not to have to be alone, but to be able to 'be with people'; due to the multitude of experiences that greatly expand the scope of the self; because of challenges that are sought and accepted, in which the self can grow and strive for excellence. "

In the book Die Alternative , Rudolf Bahro wrote in 1977 on the relationship between work and communication : “The greater part [...] of intellectual work results from the technical division of labor within production and information processing. The organizational mastery of cooperation based on the division of labor has been an information problem from the start [...] that appears as a relationship between people. The hierarchy of the work management institutionally expresses the hierarchy of the informational couplings […]. Domination, exploitation and alienation are terms whose real content is one and the same, especially against this general background [...]. At the moment it is about the decisive vertical division of labor , the tendency towards polarization [...] into a material-energetic and a controlling and regulating informational process. "Bahro suspects in overcoming the" vertical division of labor "a way to unite all people to enable fair participation and participation in their work and action systems.

The anthropologist Gerd Spittler published the book Anthropologie der Arbeit in 2016 in order to identify the essential elements of work “that can be found everywhere and at all times and are combined in different ways.” In it, he mentions discussions that sociologists have been discussing about it since the early 1990s lead to the fact that in the post-industrial service society a mixture of working and living environments can be observed. “There is talk of […] delimitation of work , of subjectified work, of work-life balance, of working customers , etc. In contrast to these debates,” Spittler “assumes that the world of work is always part of the world in which we live and it is not dichotomous. It is never completely detached from other social relationships. [...] How it constitutes itself as a special world within the lifeworld is a fascinating topic that has to be treated separately from dichotomous paradigms. [...] Contrary to Habermas' idea that work in all societies is categorically defined as instrumental action, ”Spittler always sees work with reference to ethnographic case studies as an interaction. From the point of view of the ethnologist, nothing speaks in favor of the instrumental conception of work postulated by Habermas or the rule of technology. Rather, the work in Spittler's case studies turns out to be "interaction between independent workers, work equipment and work items."

Among the theories of action, which alternate between the production and communication paradigms, there are always philosophical schools of thought that lead to the dialectical abolition of work in the sense of the conscious, creative discussion of people . Examples of this are theories of pragmatism , constructivism or methodological culturalism , which - based on everyday practice - defines culture as the result of all human activity. As a further development of the Constructivism of the Erlangen School of Paul Lorenzen and Wilhelm Kamlah , Methodical Culturalism recognizes the primary basis and starting point for science and culture in the lifeworld, pre-scientific action of people. According to the process philosophy developed by Alfred North Whitehead in his work Process and Reality , which has been increasingly received since the end of the 20th century, the term work can be used as an "extensive abstraction " and a " symbol " for the constant repetition of "elementary events" that determine the creativity of human society in its work and thus also life-world form. This conception of the concept of work largely agrees with that of Karl Marx, whose theory that work is fundamental to the social production process is receiving a contemporary, philosophical confirmation.

For cyberneticists and systems theorists , “human work” is an abstract term for the interactions and actions consciously carried out by people in social and socio-technical systems , whatever the nature of these systems of work and action . The sociological concept of system goes back to Talcott Parsons , who recognized the constitutive elements of social systems in actions (work processes). In contrast to this, Niklas Luhmann sees the determining elements in the communication relationships and emphasizes them from the actions. With this view, Luhmann tends to be idealistic and denies the fact that communication processes as part of higher-level work processes are necessary but not sufficient prerequisites for maintaining social systems.

There are increasing numbers of “technical systems” equipped with artificial intelligence that function and communicate with one another without direct human intervention. Automation calls into question the employment-based working society with the "income, participation and life opportunities" that are decisive for people. The working scientist Eberhard Ulich points out that proposals have been developed already in the 1970s, "to ration employment or a" dual economy "introduce with paid employment on the one hand and socially useful or necessary activities on the other." The With the introduction of a citizen's income could (now) there is actually a special opportunity to not only eliminate inhumane working conditions, but also to abolish the dominance of gainful employment over other socially useful work, while making reflective use of the technological possibilities in socio-technical systems.

Historical aspect

People set the productive forces of their social systems free in “work processes” . They design these processes in a “division of labor” according to the rules and laws of the systems in which they live and work together. They move within structures in which they have arranged the appropriation and use of work resources and the distribution of work results - depending on the culture or form of government . The Marxian philosophy of history assigns the dominant mode of production , that is, the economy, the formative role. Max Weber starts from the assumption that the historical process is shaped by the interaction of rule , culture and economy , whereby the influence can be differently strong depending on the epoch. Weber tends to see domination as the dominant anthropological universal. Regardless of the different philosophical views, the work penetrates and connects all dimensions of the lifeworld and takes on its epoch-appropriate, historical form.

Communities of hunters and gatherers

The work and action systems of anatomically modern humans ( Homo sapiens ) originally developed within the hordes of society. With the gradual "appropriation of nature" began the transition to abstract thinking in interaction with the language that was developing at the same time :

“Work first, after and then with it language - these are the two essential impulses, under the influence of which the brain of an ape has gradually changed into that of a human being, despite all the similarity, which is far larger and more perfect. The further training of the brain went hand in hand with the further training of its next tools, the sensory organs ... "

- Friedrich Engels : Dialectics of Nature

The people roaming around in hordes in the Paleolithic , who “with a nomadic way of life and predominantly occupation economy ” obtained the necessary food exclusively or predominantly through the collective appropriation and distribution of natural resources, were tied to the respective natural conditions on their forays. Long-term climatic developments, exhausted hunting grounds, arguments with other hordes, etc. a. m. forced people to explore new habitats. In search of better living conditions, the hordes moved on and settled in regularly changing or newly discovered settlement areas. For " thousands of years " people conquered new habitats in search of food and other natural riches. By the end of the Upper Paleolithic , these nomadic hunters and gatherers had settled on all continents with the exception of Antarctica for more than 100,000 years . In doing so, they repeatedly adapted to the environmental conditions in different climatic zones and developed their methods of using nature and asserting common interests against internal and external enemies during these millennia. This applied not only to the organized preparation and implementation of joint ventures, but also to the use of fire , the manufacture and use of new or improved clothing , tools , hunting and combat weapons , storage and transport containers or the construction of fortified storage areas and housing. In the Neolithic , hunters and gatherers began to gradually convert to agricultural production methods through domestication of useful animals, plants and herds . With the increasing differentiation of work processes, new culture-building fields of work and traditions developed . The phenotypes of natural evolution , which mainly varied external characteristics of humans, such as B. skin color or physique, were overlaid by cultural variations of the emerging tribes and peoples. The development of languages ​​that strengthened the inner cohesion of communities through rituals , art and other communicative acts and interactions, for example, was fundamental

  • Initiation and power rituals, burial cults,
  • Friendship, reconciliation, marriage ceremonies,
  • Healing, damaging or damning spells,
  • artistic forms of expression, dance , music , ornamentation, pictures, sculptures etc.,
  • Tales of lineage, hunting, fighting and survival myths.

In the tribal communities and later advanced cultures metaphysical ideas developed, on the basis of which the shaman and priesthood introduced religious cults into the creative discourse of man.

Agrarian society

The way of life of the people was based on "appropriating branches of production" or occupation economy until the people succeeded through the development and application of agricultural production methods to gradually adapt nature to their needs and to sufficiently produce the necessary food themselves in permanent settlement areas. In the course of the “Neolithic Revolution” , the working and action systems of the peasant and pastoral peoples developed .

"This revolution, says Toynbee , meant that humanity was no longer just a parasite of nature [...] People no longer depended on the unpredictable nature of the migration of animals and the random distribution of plants, but began to produce food, instead of just collecting them. To produce means planning, precaution, and self-control, planning harvests [...] far into the future and saying goodbye to the impulsive day-to-day life. "

- Baden Eunson : Industrial Psychology . 1990

As a result of the increasingly stationary production, village communities emerged . New land management and livestock farming resulted in food surpluses so that specialized workers could be employed and fed. These in turn produced products that were not intended for immediate consumption. In addition to craft areas in food processing, wood and stone processing, metal extraction, textile, ceramics, tool and weapon manufacture, etc., secondary work systems such as those of trade (exchange, transport, storage), communication (writing , Messenger services), security ( military and security services ), education and culture, organization, administration and rule. The centralization of trade, culture, protection and administration functions led to urbanization and the formation of politics . With the advancing division of labor, class societies developed and, with the concentration of protective and rule functions, forms of state that determine social life up to the present day. The agricultural revolution radically changed the way people work and live. "It took thousands of years for the new techniques and value systems of this revolution to permeate all parts of the globe."

Industrial society

Until the Renaissance , agricultural and handicraft production methods as they had developed in the course of the Middle Ages were predominant in Europe . The already present in the agrarian society caste system was crucial to that distinction was made between lower-and higher-value work - a term understanding that has survived to this day. Starting in northern Italy, England and France, the division and refinement of handicraft activities in factories began in the 17th century . In agriculture, new production methods based on the division of labor developed on the basis of large estates . The contract work was to be determined livelihood of the manufacturing and farm workers and their families. In the late 18th century , there was a wave of serious socio-technical breakthroughs. Inventions such as the mechanical loom , the steam engine or the puddling process for steel production triggered the industrial revolution in Europe . Until the late 19th century, it is mainly characterized by:

  1. the replacement of animal power with inanimate (especially water and steam power);
  2. the replacement of human skill and strength with machines ;
  3. the invention and introduction of new methods for the primary and transformation of matter (iron, steel, industrial chemicals);
  4. the organization of work in large, centrally supplied factories , which allowed direct control of production processes and a more efficient division of labor.

Economic historians also refer to this period of industrialization as the first industrial revolution . Technical innovations in the late 19th century, such as coal , paint and fertilizer chemistry, the combustion engine, the automobile, petroleum products, electrical engineering, telegraphy, telephone technology, photography and the like. a. m., initiated the second industrial revolution . Up until the middle of the 20th century, business innovations, for which FW Taylor and Henry Ford stand as representatives, ensured work organization developments that led to time and process-optimized work areas in the factories. Many workplaces were created in which the same, simple steps had to be performed over and over again in a monotonous sequence. In the middle of the 20th century, the third industrial revolution began with further innovations, such as the mechanization of agriculture , light metal and plastic technology, electronics, computer technology, nanotechnology, atomic physics, space research, etc. In the course of advancing automation and CIM technologies , jobs began to be cut, which, shaped by Taylorism , contain only the simplest, mentally demanding activities. With the increasing use of the Internet in the globalized work and action systems of the 21st century, the fourth industrial revolution has been initiated, for which the terms Industry 4.0 and Work 4.0 stand in Germany . “Whatever terminology you use, it is obvious that the pace of historical change is increasing. While the agricultural revolution took thousands of years to spread across the globe, it took the industrial revolutions only a few centuries or decades to effect similar changes. "

Present and Future

In today's living environment , diverse forms of the "original occupation economy " , the "agricultural subsistence economy " and the developed "industrial market economy " still exist side by side worldwide. Immanuel Wallerstein analyzes this situation under the aspect of the international division of labor and power relations within the framework of the world system theory . The social division of labor continues to accelerate nationally and globally, which can be clearly observed in the increasing global economic interdependence and the progressive diversification of specialized and combined scientific disciplines and qualified training occupations . With the resulting cultural and technical developments , people have not only succeeded in asserting themselves by working in nature, but have also increased productivity to such an extent that growth has turned into a serious threat to human existence . Since the middle of the 20th century, people who want to explore and adhere to the ecological limits of growth have become aware of this aspect of work .

In work processes - depending on ability and ability - people use the most powerful, latest technology in addition to their work force to ensure or increase the quality and productivity of their work. The more technical and networked the work equipment in socio-technical systems, however, the less human labor is proportionately required in the work processes. This creates unemployment . Objectively speaking, people are not unemployed, even in situations of so-called unemployment, but rather unemployed . Under market economy conditions there are always structural reasons for crisis-like “job-related unemployment” in which part of the population is excluded from gainful employment. Hannah Arendt formulated the following thesis as early as 1958:

“What lies ahead of us is the prospect of a working society that has run out of work, that is, the only activity that it still understands. What could be more disastrous? "

- Hannah Arendt : Vita activa or From active life

In the industrial age, organizational forms were developed in order to make the appropriation and use of work resources and the distribution of work results in institutionalized labor disputes more socially just and economically more effective. The history of labor disputes shows that the reduction and flexibilization of working hours , the introduction of “employment-oriented working time models” and socially balanced, labor-law- controlled collective agreements are effective means of redistributing gainful employment, overcoming mass unemployment and so-called good work . In addition, there are still unused or new fields of gainful employment to be opened up for society, for example in education , education and health , in science and research or in environmental technology . In an international context, the conquest of space also offers a large field of work to explore and use extraterrestrial resources. Still under the impression of the financial crisis from 2007 onwards , Joseph Stiglitz asks the rhetorical question , “ How can we create jobs in this situation? "His answer:" The best solution is to seize the opportunity of extremely low long-term interest rates to make the long-term investments in infrastructure , technology and education that the country so desperately needs. "

Ultimately , what Karl Popper intended in “The Open Society and Its Enemies” applies to the philosophical “work category” : People who act independently and responsibly in a democratic society are a basic condition for “conscious, creative debate”. Slaves, forced laborers or soldiers arrested in cadaver obedience take on the role of externally controlled equipment and weapons within the framework of orders or orders, which render useful services to their rulers and commanders with physical strength and intelligence. The hypothesis that people can at some point free themselves from work and live independently without “conscious creative debate” , i.e. live without working, can be seen as sufficiently falsified in Popper's sense .

Good job - a human right

The advancing automation of work processes in the highly developed industrial countries and the international division of labor are leading to a decline in the demand for labor worldwide. In the tendency to cause market legislation that by automating the quantity of "alienated labor" decreases or custom work and the acquisition-related unemployment rises. In the context of the social market economy , one of the most important tasks of the »states« is to shape the economic framework conditions by means of economic , financial and social policy measures in such a way that no structural crises on the labor market that endanger society arise. "States" because in the global economic system a single state can only enforce and control labor rights and social standards in the sense of good work to a limited extent. Pope John Paul II commented on the fair distribution of the work on his second trip to Germany in 1987 when he visited the Prosper-Haniel mine :

"Unemployment through no fault of one's own becomes a social scandal when the available work is not distributed fairly and the income from the work is not used to create new jobs for as many as possible."

- John Paul II

Arno Anzenbacher writes about the "right to work" and the dignity of man, which, according to Article 1 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany shall be inviolable:

“But work also has a personal meaning, as it contributes to self-realization and social integration. In this respect, the dignity of the person demands a subject position and the humanization of work. The right to work as a human rights matter results from the status of work in the self-realization of the person. "

- Arno Anzenbacher, Introduction to Philosophy, 2002

In the “ Universal Declaration of Human Rights ” the “ right to work ” is declared in Article 23.

  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of profession, to just and satisfactory working conditions and to protection from unemployment.
  2. Everyone, without distinction, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  3. Everyone who works has the right to fair and satisfactory remuneration, which ensures him and his family an existence in accordance with human dignity, supplemented if necessary by other social protection measures.
  4. Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions to protect their interests.

In the Saxon constitution, the “right to work” is also anchored in Article 7 of Decent Existence as a state goal .

  1. The country recognizes the right of every person to a decent existence, in particular to work, to adequate housing, to adequate livelihood, to social security and to education, as a national goal.
  2. The country is committed to the community's obligation to support old and handicapped people and to work towards the equality of their living conditions.

The “right to work” does not include the “right to a job” .

See also

Literature (selection)

First editions by the middle of the 20th century

  • Friedrich Engels: Dialectics of Nature. 1873-1886. (This includes part of the work on the ape incarnation. )
  • Friedrich Engels: The situation of the working class in England . Based on our own experience and authentic sources. Dietz-Verlag, Stuttgart 1892. (Newly published by Walter Kumpmann at DTV, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-423-06012-3 .)
  • Fritz Giese (Hrsg.): Philosophy of work. (Handbook of Ergonomics, Volume X), Carl Marhold Verlagbuchhandlung, Halle an der Saale 1932.
  • Karl Marx: Capital . Critique of Political Economy.
    • Volume I: The Production Process of Capital. Published by Otto Meissner, Hamburg 1867.
    • Volume II: The Circulation Process of Capital. (Edited by Friedrich Engels), published by Otto Meissner, Hamburg 1885.
    • Volume III: The Total Process of Capitalist Production, Chapters I to XXVIII. (Edited by Friedrich Engels), published by Otto Meissner, Hamburg 1894.
  • Max Scheler: The position of man in the cosmos. , 1928.
    • Knowledge and work. A study of the value and limits of the pragmatic motive in the knowledge of the world. Klostermann, Frankfurt 1977.
  • Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations: An Inquiry into Its Nature and Causes. From d. Engl. Trans. u. with a tribute from Horst Claus Recktenwald . [New from d. Engl. Trans. after d. 5th ed., London (1776) 1789] Beck, Munich 1974, ISBN 978-3-406-05393-1 . (Numerous new editions)
  • Max Weber: The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism, Complete Edition. (Written in 1904/05, edited and introduced by Dirk Kaesler ), 3rd revised edition, Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 3-406-51133-3 .

First editions since the middle of the 20th century

  • Günther Anders : The Antiquity of Man: About the Destruction of Life in the Age of the Third Industrial Revolution. Verlag CH Beck 1980, ISBN 3-406-47645-7 .
  • Hannah Arendt: Vita activa or From active life. Munich 2002, ISBN 978-3-492-23623-2 .
  • Michael S. Aßländer , Bernd Wagner (Hrsg.): Philosophy of work. Texts from antiquity to the present. Suhrkamp pocket book science, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-518-29801-5 .
  • Dirk Baecker (ed.): Archeology of work. Kadmos, Berlin 2002.
  • Josette Baer, Wolfgang Rother (Ed.): Work. Philosophical, legal and cultural studies . Schwabe, Basel 2014, ISBN 978-3-7965-3336-5 .
  • Alexander Barzel : The term “work” in contemporary philosophy. Lang, Frankfurt 1973, ISBN 3-261-00824-5 .
  • Maxi Berger: work, self-confidence and self-determination at Hegel. Series Hegel-Jahrbuch / Sonderband 1, Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-05-006036-1
  • Jan Robert Bloch : Nature and work: To determine their mediation Beltz Verlag, Weinheim 1982, ISBN 3-407-69124-6 .
  • Norbert Blüm : Honest work. An attack on financial capitalism and its greed. Gütersloher Verlagshaus 2011, ISBN 978-3-579-06746-9 .
  • Heinz-J. Bontrup : Labor, Capital and State. A plea for a democratic economy. 2nd Edition. PapyRossa-Verlag, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-89438-326-7 .
  • Manfred Brocker: Work and Property. The paradigm shift in modern property theory. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1992.
  • Peter Damerow (Ed.): Work and Philosophy. Symposium on Philosophical Problems of the Concept of Work. Germinal, Bochum 1983, ISBN 3-88663-504-X .
  • Thomas Donaldson & Patricia Werhane: Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (NJ) 2002.
  • Arne Eggebrecht, Jens Flemming, Gert Meyer, Achatz v. Müller, Alfred Oppolzer, Akoš Paulinyi & Helmuth Schneider: History of work. From ancient Egypt to the present. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1980, ISBN 3-462-01382-3 .
  • Georges Friedmann: Future of Work. Bund-Verlag, Cologne 1953.
  • Manfred Füllsack: Work. UTB, 2009, ISBN 978-3-8252-3235-1 .
  • André Gorz : Work between misery and utopia. (from the French by Jadja Wolf), Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-518-41017-2 .
  • Wulf D. Hund : Keyword work: From penniless to travail attractif. Distel Verlag, Heilbronn 1990, ISBN 3-923208-21-9 .
  • Jürgen Habermas: Work and interaction in technology and science as "Ideology" , Frankfurt am Main 1968, ISBN 3-518-10287-7 .
  • Wieland Jäger & Kurt Röttgers (eds.): Meaning of work. Sociological and economic philosophical considerations. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-15375-9 .
  • Angelika Krebs : work and love. The philosophical foundations of social justice. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2002.
  • Andrea Komlosy: WORK. A global historical perspective. 13th to 21st century. Promedia, Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-85371-369-3 .
  • Ernst Michael Lange: The principle of work - three metacritical chapters on basic concepts, structure and presentation of the criticism of political economy by Karl Marx . Ullstein, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-548-35041-0 .
  • Ernst Lohoff, Norbert Trenkle, Karl-Heinz Lewed, Maria Wölflingseder (Eds.): Dead Men Working. Instructions for use for work and social criticism in times of capitalist rampage. 2004. ISBN 3-89771-427-2 .
  • Jürgen Moltmann (Ed.): Right to work - meaning of work
  • Severin Müller : Phenomenology and philosophical theory of work. Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg / Munich
  • Oswald Neuberger: work. Concept, design, motivation, satisfaction. Enke, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 978-3-432-94871-3 .
  • Claus Offe: Working society - structural problems and future prospects. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 978-3-5933-3311-3 .
  • Birger Priddat : work and leisure. About the European hope of transforming work into higher activity. , Metropolis, Marburg 2019.
  • Jörg Reitzig: Social contract, justice, work. Westfälisches Dampfboot Verlag, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-89691-611-4 .
  • Alfred Sohn-Rethel : Intellectual and physical work. On the theory of social synthesis . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1970.
  • Peter Ruben : Dialectics and Work of Philosophy. Cologne 1978, ISBN 3-7609-0375-4 .
  • Holger Schatz: work as rule. The crisis of the achievement principle and its neoliberal reconstruction. 2004, ISBN 3-89771-429-9 .
  • Gerd Spittler: anthropology of work. An ethnographic comparison. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2016, p. 32, ISBN 978-3-658-10433-7
  • Dieter Wolf : Hegel's theory of civil society part 2, Hamburg 1980, ISBN 3-87975-182-X .

Web links

Wiktionary: work  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. ^ A b Otfried Höffe, Lexikon der Ethik, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1992 (4), p. 15f, ISBN 3-406-36666-X .
  2. a b c Friedrich L. Weigand: German dictionary . Ed .: Herman Hirt. 5th edition. tape 1 . Walter de Gruyter, 1968, p. 81 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed February 21, 2018]). .
  3. "Robots". In: Wolfgang Pfeifer et al., Etymological Dictionary of German (1993), digitized version in the digital dictionary of the German language, revised by Wolfgang Pfeifer. Retrieved October 9, 2018 . .
  4. See also Arnim Regenbogen, Uwe Meyer, Dictionary of Philosophical Terms , Meiner 1998, p. 60.
  5. Hans Paul Bahrdt: Work as the content of life. (In Crisis of Labor Society?, Ed. Joachim Matthes ); Campus Verlag, Frankfurt / New York 1983, p. 124, ISBN 9783593328287
  6. Ernst Cassirer: Experiment about people. Introduction to the philosophy of culture. ; Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 2007, pp. 218 ff, ISBN 9783787318292
  7. Georg Schreyögg , Jochen Koch: Fundamentals of Management: Basic knowledge for study and practice. (2nd revised edition), Gabler Verlag, Wiesbaden 2010, p. 197 f, ISBN 3-8349-1589-0 .
  8. Cf. Fritz Böhle , Gerd-Günter Voss , Günther Wachtler : Handbuch Arbeitsoziologie , VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 9783531154329 ; In the first chapter of this book, What Is Work? Gerd-Günter Voss points out that the sociology of work does not yet have a generally valid concept of work.
  9. Heinz Eidam , Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (ed.): Critical Philosophy of Social Practice - Discussions with Marx's theory after the collapse of real socialism. Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1995, p. 314 , ISBN 978-3-8260-1011-8 .
  10. Today this conception, handed down from antiquity, is easy to understand from the standpoint of work psychology , because experience has shown that creativity and the need to relate to work are sometimes lost under pressure .
  11. See under List of Aristotelian Categories .
  12. Cf. for example Plato's dialogue Protagoras or Ergon-Argument and Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle (in the 4th century B.C.E.); see also teachings of the Stoa in De officiis (around 44 B.C.E.) by Marcus Tullius Cicero .
  13. Cf. Mark Aurel: Self- Contemplations IX, 12. (around 170 C.E.)
  14. See, for example, Marcus Porcius Cato Censorius , De agricultura . (around 150 B.C.E.)
  15. Luther Bible (2017): 2 Thessalonians 3:10 .
  16. Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic I . A collection of essays , edited by Johannes Winckelmann , Siebenstern, Hamburg 1965, from 5th edition, GTB / Siebenstern, Gütersloh 1979, p. 71 ff, ISBN 3-579-01433-1 .
  17. "Utopia" ; Greek οὐτοπία utopía ; Latin utópia means "nowhere".
  18. Werner Welzig (Ed.): Erasmus of Rotterdam: Selected writings. Volume 4: De libero arbitrio Diatribe sive collatio. (1524) , Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1969, pp. 1–195. (Latin-German)
  19. See Merton thesis ; Robert K. Merton : Science, Technology & Society in Seventeenth-Century England. Howard Finished Publisher, New York 2002, ISBN 978-0865274341 .
  20. See Dieter Wolf: The dialectical contradiction in capital. A contribution to Marx's theory of value , Hamburg 2018, foreword p. 5. (PDF last accessed on June 21, 2020 )
  21. Karl Marx: Economic-philosophical manuscripts from 1844. In: MEW Vol. 40, p. 574.
  22. ^ A b Karl Marx: Das Kapital , Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1972, vol. 1, p. 192.
  23. ^ Arno Anzenbacher: Introduction to Philosophy. Verlag Herder GmbH, Freiburg 2002, p. 170, ISBN 978-3-451-27851-8 .
  24. ^ Marx / Engels - Werke, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1962, Vol. 20, Dialektik der Natur , p. 444.
  25. a b c Karl Marx: Das Kapital , Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1972, vol. 1, p. 57 ff.
  26. In English there are two words for “work” that precisely describe the “double character” analyzed by Karl Marx : (English) “work” = “concrete work” vs. (Eng.) "labor" = "abstract work" .
  27. Whether the idea of alienation adopted by Hegel and its abolition played an important role for Marx is disputed. The best-known version was presented in the economic-philosophical manuscripts of 1844, which were first published in 1932.
  28. See under Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy , an economic theory by Joseph Schumpeter.
  29. On the concept of the manager's alienated work, cf. for example Klaus Türk : Die Organization der Welt , Westdeutscher Verlag 1995, ISBN 978-3-531-12699-9 , pp. 38 ff. / Erich Fromm had already seen the work of managers as alienated in 1964 in The Psychological Problem of Man in Modern Society (German by Rainer Funk as The psychological consequences of industrialism in: Erich Fromm Gesamtausgabe ), e-book, open publishing 2016, ISBN 978-3-95912-207-8 .
  30. ^ GWF Hegel: Science of Logic II. (= Collected Works Vol. 12), Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 1981, p. 15, ISBN 3-7873-0383-9 .
  31. Friedrich Engels: Mr. Eugen Dühring `s upheaval of science. Marx / Engels - Werke, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1962, vol. 20, p. 106.
  32. Max Scheler: Knowledge and Work. A study of the value and limits of the pragmatic motive in the knowledge of the world. Klostermann, Frankfurt 1977.
  33. Ernst Bloch: traces (1910-1929) , section Dasein: Stachel der Arbeit. , Berlin 1930
  34. a b c Gerd Spittler: Anthropology of work. An ethnographic comparison. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2016, pp. 32-66, ISBN 978-3-658-10433-7 .
  35. Cf. Léon Walras: Mathematical theory of the price determination of economic goods: Four memoranda. , Verlag Detlev Auvermann KG, Glashütten im Taunus 1972 (reprint of the Stuttgart edition from 1881); see also Pareto optimization .
  36. See Joseph Schumpeter: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy . Translated by Susanne Preiswerk. Introduction by Edgar Salin . Francke, Bern 1946; 2nd expanded edition ibid. 1950; 3rd edition 1972, ISBN 3-7720-0917-4 .
  37. What is meant here is the duration of the normal working day in companies with fixed working hours.
  38. ^ Paul Heinz Kösters: Economists are changing the world. Teachings that govern our lives. , Verlag Gruner + Jahr, Hamburg 1983, p. 256, ISBN 3-570-07015-8 .
  39. Cf. u. a. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin : State and Revolution : The doctrine of Marxism from the state and the tasks of the proletariat in the revolution. (written 1917 in the Illegalität), Verlag Neuer Weg, Essen 2017, ISBN 978-3-88021-465-1 ; or the New Economic Policy of the 1920s in the Soviet Union ; or the New Economic System that Helmut Koziolek and Erich Apel developed in the GDR in the 1960s .
  40. The economic systems in Vietnam and the People's Republic of China are subject to state planning led by the communist parties, but function in a market economy within the planning framework.
  41. See Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling : Textbook of Cameral Science or Cameral Practice. from 1790 and textbook of action science. by 1799.
  42. Artur Woll (Ed.): Wirtschaftslexikon: Jubiläumsausgabe. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2008, p. 82, ISBN 978-3-486-58727-2 .
  43. For the sociologist Talcott Parsons, health is a functional requirement of social systems , cf. Talcott Parsons: Structure and Function of Modern Medicine . In: René König ; Margret Tönnesmann (ed.): Problems of medicine-sociology. Special issue 3 of the Cologne journal for sociology and social psychiatry, 1958, pp. 10–57.
  44. ^ Emil Kraepelin: The work curve. In: Wilhelm Wundts Philosophical Studies Volume 19, 1902, pp. 459–507.
  45. Cf. Étienne Grandjean : Physiological work design. Guide to ergonomics. Ecomed, Landsberg 1991, ISBN 3-609-64460-5 .
  46. ^ Fritz Giese, Frederick W. Taylor (involved): Psychotechnik and Taylor system. Wendt & Klauwell publishing house, Langensalza 1920.
  47. ^ Fritz Giese (ed.): Philosophy of work. (Handbook of Ergonomics, Volume X), Carl Marhold Verlagbuchhandlung, Halle ad Saale 1932.
  48. Eberhard Ulich: Industrial Psychology (7th edition), Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, p. 22, ISBN 978-3-7910-3049-4 .
  49. ^ Gertraude Mikl-Horke : Industrial and work sociology. (3rd edition), Oldenbourg, Munich / Vienna 1995, p. 148.
  50. Georges Friedmann: Future of Work. Bund-Verlag, Cologne 1953, p. 265 ff.
  51. Eberhard Ulich: Industrial Psychology (7th edition), Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, p. 61, ISBN 978-3-7910-3049-4 .
  52. Cf. Karl Popper: The open society and its enemies; Volume II: False Prophets - Hegel, Marx and the Consequences. , Francke Verlag, Bern 1958; see also various contributions by representatives of critical theory and the Frankfurt School , z. B. The philosophical discourse of modernity .
  53. See article by Dieter Wolf: Jürgen Habermas' and Alfred Schmidt's criticism of the “Marxian production paradigm” with comments on the unity of nature and human history. Critique of Political Economy - interdisciplinary, September 2, 2012, ( 45 pages, PDF last accessed on June 21, 2020. )
  54. Cf. Karl Popper: The open society and its enemies; Volume II: False Prophets - Hegel, Marx and the Consequences. (7th edition, translation from English by Paul K. Feyerabend and Klaus Pähler ), Mohr Siebeck Verlag, Tübingen 1992, pp. 95–157, ISBN 3-16-145953-9 .
  55. See Horst Müller : Jürgen Habermas: New Dualisms and Normativism. , BoD-Verlag, Norderstedt 2015, p. 16 ff. ( PDF file, last accessed on March 7, 2019 )
  56. a b Cf. Niklas Luhmann: Social Systems . Outline of a general theory. , Chapter 4: "Communication and Action", Frankfurt am Main 1984, edition 2001, pp. 191 ff., ISBN 3-518-28266-2 .
  57. What is meant are negative phenomena in the social production process, which is characterized by class contradictions, such as the alienation of social relationships, exploitation in employment relationships or political oppression by institutions of the ruling class.
  58. ^ Karl Popper: The open society and its enemies; Volume II: False Prophets - Hegel, Marx and the Consequences. (7th edition), Mohr Siebeck Verlag, Tübingen 1992, p. 394, ISBN 3-16-145953-9 .
  59. See Hannah Arendt: Vita activa or Vom active life. Munich 2002, ISBN 978-3-492-23623-2 .
  60. a b Hannah Arendt: Vita activa or From active life. Munich 2002, p. 211 f.
  61. ^ Hannah Arendt: Vita activa or From active life. Munich 2002, p. 301.
  62. a b c d Volker Caysa : About the transformation of the spirit of the Leipzig Bloch period in the practice-philosophical debate around and before 1968 in the GDR , in: Klaus Kinner (Ed.): Die Linke - Erbe und Tradition , Part 1, Berlin 2010, p. 193 ff, ISBN 978-3-320-02212-9 .
  63. ^ Hannah Arendt: Vita activa or From active life. Munich 2002, p. 401.
  64. Cf. Jürgen Habermas: Technology and Science as "Ideology". , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 978-3518284919 .
  65. See Horst Müller: The PRACTICE concept in the 21st century. Karl Marx and the practical thinkers, the practical concept in the transition period and the latently existing system alternative. BoD-Verlag, Norderstedt 2015, p. 191 ff, ISBN 978-3-7386-4684-9 .
  66. ^ Wilhelm Schmid: What is work? , momentum magazine , Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn Verlag for Architecture and Technical Sciences GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin October 13, 2012 (last accessed on July 5, 2017)
  67. Rudolf Bahro's book Die Alternative was described in 1978 by Herbert Marcuse as the most important contribution to Marxist theory and practice of the last decades, see Herbert Marcuse: About Bahro, Proto-Socialism and Late Capitalism - Attempt at a revolutionary-theoretical synthesis of Bahro's approach. In: Critique , 6th vol. (1978) No. 19, pp. 5-27.
  68. ^ Rudolf Bahro: The alternative. To the criticism of the actually existing socialism. European Publishing House, Cologne / Frankfurt am Main 1977, p. 176 ff, ISBN 3-434-00353-3 .
  69. Cf. Frank Kleemann, Ingo Matuschek, Gerd-Günter Voss: Subjectivization of work - an overview of the state of the discussion. (In: Manfred Mondaschel, Gerd-Günter Voss (Ed.): Subjectification of work / work, innovation and sustainability ; Volume 2) Rainer Hampp Verlag, Munich 2002, pp. 53-100, ISBN 3-87988-651-2 .
  70. Cf. Dirk Hartmann , Peter Janich (Ed.): Methodischer Kulturalismus. Between naturalism and postmodernism. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 9783518288726 .
  71. See Michael Hampe : Alfred North Whitehead. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1998, p. 180 f, ISBN 3-406-41947-X .
  72. ^ Alfred North Whitehead: Process and Reality: Design of a Cosmology. Suhrkamp Verlag (1st edition, translation from English by Hans Günter Holl ), Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 978-3518282908 .
  73. Cf. Georg Klaus , Heinz Liebscher : What is, what is cybernetics supposed to be? Urania-Verlag, Leipzig 1966 (1st to 9th edition 1974); see also W. Ross Ashby : Introduction to Cybernetics. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1974.
  74. Cf. Talcott Parsons: The system of modern societies. (6th edition), Juventa, 2003, ISBN 3-7799-0710-0 .
  75. Cf. Armin Pongs : In which world do we actually live? Comparison of social concepts. Volume 1, Dilemma Verlag, Munich, 1999, pp. 201 f, ISBN 3-9805822-4-8
  76. Eberhard Ulich: Industrial Psychology (7th edition), Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, pp. 633 ff, ISBN 978-3-7910-3049-4 .
  77. Hans-Ulrich Wehler : The new redistribution, social inequality in Germany. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2013, p. 31, ISBN 978-3-406-64386-6 .
  78. See also types of society according to Giddens ; see. Anthony Giddens : Sociology. (Revised in German by Christian Fleck and Mariana Egger de Campo ), Nausner & Nausner, Graz / Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-901402-16-6 .
  79. See u. a. with Edmund Husserl : Hua XXXIX: The world of life. Interpretations of the given world and its constitution. Texts from the estate (1916–1937). Edited by Rochus Sowa. 2008, ISBN 978-1-4020-6476-0 .
  80. Cf. Werner Sombart : The order of economic life. ; Reprint of the 2nd edition from 1927 in Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg / Wiesbaden 2007, p. 21, ISBN 978-3-540-72255-7 ; See also Bernd Andreae : Global economic plants in competition: Economic leeway within ecological limits. A product-related crop geography . , Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2016, p. 67, ISBN 978-3-11-083977-7 .
  81. a b Walter Markov , Alfred Anderle (ed.): Small encyclopedia - world history. (2nd reviewed edition, volume 1), VEB Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1981, p. 16 ff.
  82. Klaus Holzkamp : Fundamentals of Psychology. New edition. Campus, Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 3-593-33572-7 , pp. 181–184: Chapter 5.3.5 From the occupation to the production economy : Dominance of “inner-social” development laws , here p. 182 (first published in 1983).
  83. ^ A b c d Baden Eunson : Industrial Psychology . (Part A, 1st work: Future and Past. McGraw-Hill, Hamburg 1990, p. 5 ff, ISBN 3-89028-227-X , (English 1987: Behaving - Managing Yourself and Others ).
  84. See e.g. B. Mariano San Nicolò , Herbert Petschow (eds.): The final clauses of the old Babylonian purchase and exchange contracts: A contribution to the history of cash sales. ; Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1974, ISBN 9783406006043 .
  85. See Rudolf Bahro: Die Alternative. To the criticism of the actually existing socialism. (here Chapter 5: Overall social organization based on the old division of labor ), Cologne / Frankfurt am Main 1977, p. 164 ff.
  86. "The San are just one of many examples here." Gerd Spittler: Anthropology of Work. An ethnographic comparison. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2016, pp. 161 ff, ISBN 978-3-658-10433-7 .
  87. Cf. Immanuel Wallerstein: World - System - Analysis: An Introduction. (New library of social sciences; edited and translated by Felix Merz, Julien Bucher and Sylke Nissen), Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2018, ISBN 978-3-658-21961-1 .
  88. See e.g. B. Donella Meadows , Dennis Meadows , Jørgen Randers & William W. Behrens III : The Limits to Growth. Universe Books, 1972, ISBN 0-87663-165-0 ; Translated from the American and edited by Hans-Dieter Heck: The limits of growth. Report of the Club of Rome on the State of Humanity. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-421-02633-5 ; Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1973, ISBN 3-499-16825-1 .
  89. See structural crisis as a cause of mass unemployment, for example through competition for substitution , productivity increases or as a result of increasing automation.
  90. Cf. Oskar Negt : Why still unions ? A polemic. Steidl Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-86521-165-8 .
  91. ^ Oskar Negt: Lively work, dispossessed time. Political and cultural dimensions of the struggle for working time. Frankfurt am Main / New York 1984.
  92. Eberhard Ulich: Arbeitsspsychologie (7th edition), Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, pp. 640 ff, ISBN 978-3-7910-3049-4 .
  93. This refers to the low interest rates triggered by the expansionary monetary policy of the Fed , the ECB and other central banks .
  94. Joseph Stiglitz: Rich and poor. The growing inequality in our society. (From the American English by Thorsten Schmidt.), Siedler Verlag, Munich 2015, p. 449, ISBN 978-3-8275-0068-7 .
  95. For the meaning and effect of commands in the “spheres of work, struggle or faith ” see Elias Canetti : Mass and Power ; Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1980, pp. 335–371, ISBN 3-596-26544-4 .
  96. The Romans saw "speaking tools" (Latin: instrumenti genus vocale ) in their slaves , see De re rustica. Book I: De agricultura , by Marcus Terentius Varro (around 37 BC).
  97. Cf. Claus Offe : Arbeitsgesellschaft - Structural Problems and Future Perspectives. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 978-3-5933-3311-3 .
  98. See also International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ; In order to enforce and monitor workers' rights in the global economic system, it is increasingly necessary for national governments to work with communities of states and international organizations, and to overcome blocking conflicts of interest between these institutions (e.g. UN , EU or ITUC , ILO , World Bank , IMF , WTO, etc.).
  99. ^ John Paul II: Sermon to the staff of the Prosper-Haniel mine on the Franz Haniel 1/2 mine, which was about to be closed. , May 2, 1987; See also his social encyclical Laborem exercens (on human work, on the 90th anniversary of the encyclical Rerum Novarum ), Vatican 1981.
  100. ^ Arno Anzenbacher: Introduction to Philosophy. Verlag Herder GmbH, Freiburg 2002, p. 288, ISBN 978-3-451-27851-8 ; or see also Oskar Negt: work and human dignity. Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-88243-786-3 .