Friday, August 26, 2011

Is Working Hard an Optimal Concept?

Ever since the Middle Ages, the world's productivity and moral value have been guided by the invisible hand of the Protestant or Puritan Work Ethic.

Imbued with the values of hard labor and fair pay, the work ethic fomented the great industrial revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries and the rise of monolithic corporations and big government.

With the advance of technology, however, mostly in the past 40 years, the traditional role of labor as capital has been slowly evolving, as machines and computers do much of the heavy lifting and human toil has been reduced significantly. These changes, slow as they may be, have reduced the general value of human labor to a point at which lower and middle classes struggle to keep pace with inflating costs of living.

Thus, human labor, once the hallmark of strong economies, has been reduced as an integral part of the capital/money creating machine of capitalism to a point at which it may be becoming a mere antecedent to the cycle of many productive enterprises.

That is why authors such as Timothy Ferriss have garnered such a huge and expanding following. Ferriss, the founder of the principle known as the "4-Hour Workweek" and author of the 2007 book by the same name and numerous other life-enhancing, labor-shortening ideas (Ferris maintains a blog which promotes many novel tips, concepts and ideas) seeks to maximize human potential while minimizing actual work hours.

The best part of his conceptualization of working smarter, not longer or harder, sets a new paradigm for the structure of society into the 21st century, emphasizing preparation and design to work beyond the utility of brute force.

Ferriss' writings belong on the must-read list of every worker, leader and entrepreneur, alongside such well-intentioned tomes as Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull's "The Peter Principle" and Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations."

Anyone seeking to thrive in today's fast-changing economic landscape would be well advised to look into the principles and guidelines which Ferriss continues to promote.

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