Spare us corporate life

The rising tide of self-employment could be a symptom of workplace disillusion.

by Richard Reeves

It is the modern call of the wild, bearing the promise of independence, freedom of spirit and open horizons. It is the new Wild West, full of opportunity, entrepreneurialism and courage. It is utopia, eschewing hierarchy, bureaucracy and control in favour of meritocracy, fluidity and creativity.

In other words, it is self-employment. The dream of the post-industrial worker is the nightmare of our pre-industrial ancestors: to be our own boss, reliant on our own skills, sinking or swimming by our merits in the marketplace. Above all, we want control over where and when we work.

As Marx pointed out: 'What makes wage slaves? Wages!' (Groucho, that is, not Karl.)

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