Work in the Machine Society

Work in the Machine Society

INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY, by Georges Friedmann. (Edited and with an introduction by Harold L. Sheppard.) Free Press, Glencoe, Illinois, 1955. 436 pp., $6.00.

No Marx-ward inclination is required to see that work is central to man’s fate in modern industrial society. How could it be otherwise, when a man’s job is the place at which he spends most of his waking hours; is the source from which he derives his income with which to demand society’s resources, and which sets limits and gives form to his life chances; and is the single most important criterion by which he is assigned a rank in a highly rank-conscious society?

When these aspects of occupation are taken into account, it is clearly no longer possible to talk about work as primarily an economic fact. However significant the income-dimensions of a job may be, and however important the sheerly economic aspects of production and distribution may be for a society, the non-economic aspects of both work and the economic system are often crucial in the determination of the character and fate of any population.