I ponder this question a lot … what constitutes ‘work’? I ask this because half the time it seems to me that those who work the least (or not at all) seem to be the financially wealthiest in society – both a disturbing and ironical reality.
Here’s my take:
a) Any human activity whose purpose is to produce & distribute goods/services for the benefit of the self and/or others.
b) The application of human energy to things which application converts, maintains or adds value to the worker, the thing worked on & the system in which work is performed (Sandra Wallman).
Let us also throw these additional definitions into the fray:-
c) An entrepreneur: (is) a person who undertakes a business or enterprise with the chance of profit/loss.
d) A thief: a person who steals secretly without violence (takes away value).
Now, (a) above implies that ALL work (should) correspond DIRECTLY to PRODUCTION. Therefore any activity does not correspond to production = instances of ‘non-work’.
(b) Implies ‘value addition’; for the sake of argument let us assume value means ‘economic value’. Moreover, let us say that this economic value must be felt by everyone within the population in question which implies ‘equity’.
(c) Is not concerned with production but profit and (d) takes value from others who are unaware of the fact that he is doing so.
1) Is trading in the debt market (bonds)/NSE (sec. market) = work?
2) Is a person who is paid for asking you to enter a matatu (you already were going to enter anyway) working?
3) Has a person who has charged a commission to A for buying shares from B, worked?
4) What is the difference between (2) and (3)?
5) How does trading in debt and/or NSE sec. market add economic value if it’s not = work?
Trade in the Nairobi Stock Exchange secondary market does not correspond directly to PRODUCTION therefore, by definition it is NOT=WORK.
According to (a), (1), (2), and (3) above are NOT involved directly in PRODUCTION so, they are not work.
According to definition (b), a person trading in the NSE sec. market is an entrepreneur because he is driven by profit, HOWEVER, he is also (d) because he is acquiring value without WORK (PRODUCTION) = usury/stealing.
So, would you rather have a population of people who work, or one which people trade in factors of production without working?