What’s Wrong with The Passion Economy?

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Adam Davidson describes the “Passion Economy” in a book released in 2020. Davidson claims that we are moving toward a new economy, centred around the identification and development of individuals’ unique talents and passions. This article shows why Davidson’s proposal is not a sustainable solution to fix our current relationship with work.

Introduction: The Passion Economy

The 21st
century is only beginning, but we have already seen considerable changes in our relationship with work in the past two decades. The effect of globalization on the industry, unemployment, increase in work-related health issues (such as burn-outs), the environmental crisis or the COVID-19 pandemic… these are only some of the reasons that have pushed many of us to reconsider our view of what it means to be a worker.

It’s more and more common to hear people expressing wishes to ditch their office jobs to become full-time bakers, woodworkers, or buy a farm and make soap with goat milk. It seems that the 9-to-5 life, which used to be synonymous with security and happiness, has ceased to be that attractive. Younger generations especially, maybe sick of being the witnesses of their parents’ sacrifices, seem to aspire to a better work-life balance, or generally look for more meaning in the workplace.

It’s more and more common to hear people expressing wishes to ditch their office jobs to become full-time bakers, woodworkers, or buy a farm and make soap with goat milk. 

“I don’t dream of labor”, is a common slogan for those who no longer wish to conform to societal norms and look to dedicate their time to more authentic activities. This collective realization that work is often a source of pain, pressure, and detract us from what we truly care about, opens the door to new models.

This article will explore one: The Passion Economy, described by author Adam Davidson in a book released in 2020. This book claims that we are moving toward a new economy, centred around the identification and development of individuals’ unique talents and passions. Many have praised Davidson’s book, arguing that the Passion Economy is the future of work. But although it raises valid criticisms regarding our current, often alienating, vision of employed work, it also brings about various concerns.

This article starts with a brief presentation of the concept of Passion Economy, as it is presented by the author. It goes on to explore the different reasons why, despite a promising starting point, the Passion Economy fails to offer long-term satisfactory solutions. Davidson’s book is not a philosophy book, but the vision of work it presents raises philosophical questions, which we will try to address here.

The idea for this article came to me after watching a YouTube video by YouTuber Alice Cappelle (“The Passion Economy is Pure Nonsense”), in which she develops a critique of the concept, and raises concerns over monetizing every aspect of our lives – an idea that I will not tackle here. As …

Originally appeared on Daily Philosophy Read More

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