Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Profit maximization or bullshit – where between labour economics and Graeber may employments be?

Mann, Stefan (2020): Profit maximization or bullshit – where between labour economics and Graeber may employments be?

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Abstract

The fundamental assumption of labour economics that firms maximize their profits through employment has been challenged through David Graebers “Bullshit Jobs”. We compare the epistemological foundations and empirical grounding of the two concepts. After the methodological paradigms have been explored, the paper looks at the five categories of bullshit jobs that Graeber qualifies and at their contribution to added value on the company and the societal level. Neither the mere assumption of rationality and complete information which labour economists usually pursue nor the complete trust in the narratives of unhappy employees are likely to reveal the full truth. The apparent contradictions can mainly be attributed to the high degree of complexity of the labour world.

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