Essay In Idleness Summary

In these days, however, no one will deny that most enterprises fail.That means that a large amount of human labor, which might have been devoted to producing something which could be enjoyed, was expended on producing machines which, when produced, lay idle and did no good to anyone.In America the system came to an end with the Revolution, except in the South, where it persisted until the Civil War.

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From the beginning of civilization until the industrial revolution a man could, as a rule, produce by hard work little more than was required for the subsistence of himself and his family, although his wife worked at least as hard and his children added their labor as soon as they were old enough to do so.

The small surplus above bare necessaries was not left to those who produced it, but was appropriated by priests and warriors.

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be idle in order that we should all have our mouths full of bread.

What people who say such things forget is that what a man earns he usually spends, and in spending he gives employment.

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IKE most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment.Every one knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. Before advancing my own arguments for laziness, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept.Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. Whenever a person who already has enough to live on proposes to engage in some everyday kind of job, such as school-teaching or typing, he or she is told that such conduct takes the bread out of other people’s mouths, and is, therefore, wicked.But, I shall be told, the case is quite different when savings are invested in industrial enterprises.When such enterprises succeed and produce something useful this may be conceded.But although my conscience has controlled my have undergone a revolution.I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.These are men who, through ownership of land, are able to make others pay for the privilege of being allowed to exist and to work.These landowners are idle, and I might, therefore, be expected to praise them.The man who invests his savings in a concern that goes bankrupt is, therefore, injuring others as well as himself.If he spent his money, say, in giving parties for his friends, they (we may hope) would get pleasure, and so would all those on whom he spent money, such as the butcher, the baker, and the bootlegger.


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