What is ‘work?’1 The question is fundamental at a time when it is increasingly asserted that the integration of computers and telecommunications technology in production processes will make work increasingly more scarce. But, what work? The work to which reference is made in this context is usually limited to activities associated with the production of goods and services for which payments are made. But, there is a problem with this: there are many work activities which produce goods and services, such as those related to home and family, and voluntary services rendered to churches, clubs, public service organisations, health and welfare institutions, and there are equally many activities which are classified as work under certain conditions and not work under other conditions. For example, the activities of professional athletes and artists are deemed to be work, while the activities of amateur athletes and artists are not so deemed, even though the time allocated to the activities and the intensity and effort involved in them may be the same. What is the difference? Essentially it is that one group performs its activities for money while the other does not.2 The moment that the amateur begins to perform for money the activities become work. This suggests that it is not the nature of activity that determines whether it is or it is not work, but rather whether a direct payment is made for the performance of the activity.
KeywordsLeisure Time Work Activity Economic Security Work Participation Direct Payment
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