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Salvage Live: The Problem With Work

Among capitalism’s greatest tricks has been its ability to get buy-in for the various magical tales it spins about work. From the Hallmark-worthy ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ to the oft repeated line that ‘anyone can work hard and become a billionaire,’ we are inundated from birth with these and other seductive stories about the system’s many supposed virtues.

Yet these bromides are increasingly out of sync with our reality. As inequality grows to historic proportions, and the dreams of achieving fulfillment through our jobs butts up against the exploitative nature of our 9 to 5’s, the ideological varnish has finally begun to corrode.

In their recent books, Amelia Horgan and Sarah Jaffe both draw our attention to this chipping façade and point to the burgeoning resistance—from unionization efforts at Starbucks and Amazon warehouses, to home health workers demanding better pay and benefits for their care work—to the pleasant sounding lies offered by capital’s conscious and unconscious defenders.

In this episode of Salvage Live Horgan and Jaffe will take on the problem with work in our current moment, and make the case for militant work-place activity and anti-capitalism as its only solution.


Amelia Horgan is a writer, researcher and editor from London. She is currently a PhD candidate on work at the University of Essex’s School of Philosophy and Art History. Her first book, Lost in Work (Pluto Press) came out this year.

Sarah Jaffe is a Type Media Center fellow and the author of Work Won't Love You Back and Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt. You can read her piece in the latest issue of Salvage.

Annie Olaloku-Teriba is a writer and podcaster whose research focuses on how neoliberalism has transformed the theory and practice of ‘race.’

Barnaby Raine is writing his PhD at Columbia University on visions of ending capitalism. He teaches at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.

This event is co-sponsored by Salvage and Haymarket Books.