William Morris: Industrious Worker

Posted by admin on Saturday, February 23, 2019

William Morris Money Quote saying the well-off are happy to praise the happy little worker bees who toil away without time off and support others with their toil. William Morris said:
Most of those who are well-to-do cheer on the happy worker with congratulations and prases, if he is only 'industrious' enough Quote

“Most of those who are well-to-do cheer on the happy worker with congratulations and praises, if he is only “industrious” enough and deprives himself of all pleasure and holidays in the sacred cause of labour. In short, it has become an article of the creed of modern morality that all labour is good in itself – a convenient belief to those who live on the labour of others” — William Morris


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In this quote, William Morris seems to be criticizing the view held by some wealthy people that overworking and depriving oneself is morally virtuous. Some key points:

  • He notes that those who are “well-to-do” (financially comfortable) often praise hardworking individuals who forgo all pleasure and leisure time for the sake of labor.
  • However, Morris implies this is done more to assuage their own guilt over living off others’ work rather than out of real concern for workers’ well-being.
  • He argues it has become a modern “article of creed” that any and all labor is inherently good, a notion that conveniently benefits those who profit from others’ toil but do not work as hard themselves.
  • Morris seems to believe an excessive, joyless work ethic enforced on workers primarily serves the interests of the rich rather than being for the good of laborers.

Overall, the quote suggests Morris viewed the mentality that more work is always better as a construct that allowed the wealthy classes to feel righteous while exploiting the labor of those below them for their own gain and leisure at workers’ expense.

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