"Two Men Contemplating the Moon." Artist: Caspar David Friedrich circa 1825–30. Via Wikimedia Commons

“In Praise of Idleness” revisited

By Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights

Last week a new acquaintance displayed mild astonishment at the volume of my writing. He asked me how I come up with ideas for my pieces. I had to pause to think about that since my process has become more of a reflex that anything else. My answer was that I have the luxury of time. Despite the heightened pace of my life since moving to Washington, D.C., I continue to leave many hours unscheduled so that I can read, think and write. I am reminded of Bertrand Russell's 1932 essay entitled "In Praise of Idleness"  which critiqued the modern obsession with labor in the age of the machine and with production as an end in itself. Much of the work in wealthy countries now, however, is in the service industries. Service jobs have always been around, but not as much as they are today. Yet strangely, in an age...