Breaking Things at Work

The Luddites Were Right About Why You Hate Your Job

The most common use of the term “Luddite” refers to someone who is opposed to technology, the kind of person who keeps their land line around a decade after everyone else has picked up a mobile. But this is wrong. Luddism isn’t an opposition to technology per se—it’s an assertion that we must take a critical look at technology’s relationship to labor and working conditions. Luddism does look askance at technology that reduces people’s autonomy or makes working life miserable—and that makes it a very useful perspective to have on hand today. This is a brisk read that locates echoes of Luddism in current practices like the free software and right-to-repair movements, and makes the case for rescuing Luddism from the dustheap. More like this.