Joy of labor

From Mises Wiki, the global repository of classical-liberal thought
Jump to: navigation, search

The joy of labor consists of pleasurable feelings that come from labor. However, this pleasure is not enough to render the work as satisfactory as leisure, for then it would cease to be work and become leisure. The worker might, in that case, even pay his employer for the privilege of working. A person would not engage in labor unless it offered mediate gratification (e.g. through what a paycheck can buy) in addition to the joy of labor. Ludwig von Mises cautions that "Sometimes a superficial observer may believe that labor performed by other people gives rise to immediate gratification because he himself would like to engage in a kind of play which apparently imitates the kind of labor concerned."[1]

The sources from which the joy of labor springs are:[2] and the satisfaction the worker feels because his work goes so well that through it he can earn a living for himself and his family.[3]

  1. The expectation of the labor's mediate gratification, the anticipation of the enjoyment of its success and yield. In the frame of social cooperation this joy manifests itself in the contentment of being capable of holding one's ground in the social organism and of rendering services which one's fellow men appreciate either in buying the product or in remunerating the labor expended. The worker rejoices because he gets self-respect and the consciousness of supporting himself and his family and not being dependent on other people's mercy.
  2. In the pursuit of his work the worker enjoys the aesthetic appreciation of his skill and its product.
  3. Having completed a task the worker enjoys the feeling of having successfully overcome all the toil and trouble involved. His is the feeling of "I have done it."
  4. Some kinds of work satisfy particular wishes. There are, for example, occupations which meet erotic desires--either conscious or subconscious ones.