Why Do People Work?

Some reasons include

- need to earn money, ie

"...money put food on the table, clothes in the wardrobe and a roof overhead..."

Ryan Avent, 2017

- occupy their time

- find a purpose in life

- contribute to society, etc

Of the above reasons, earning money is the dominant one.

However, many people work harder and earn more than the minimum needed to survive. This is linked with the desire for something more than the basic necessities, ie afford a few luxuries. Yet there are trade-offs, ie the harder we work, the less time we have to enjoy the luxuries earned.

"...the more lavish the luxuries we seek, the more we must earn to acquire them, and the longer and harder we find ourselves working..."

Ryan Avent, 2017

This leads to a concept called 'leisure luxuries', ie people tend to buy more things as they earn more money. However, what they buy changes, ie as income rises, there is less spending on necessities as a share of total consumption. People spend more time and money on luxuries as their income rises. Furthermore, because tastes vary, type of luxuries consumed differ. There are tangible and intangible luxuries; with the former being experiences, like time away from work, pursuit of hobbies, gaming, etc and the latter being physical goods. Some people

"...do not need to spend much time on the job each week before the income gained from another hour at work starts to look a poor trade-off for an additional hour away from it..."

Ryan Avent, 2017

"...the history of the industrial era has been one in which technology has reduced proportion of income devoted to necessities, such as food, while providing vast new possibilities for consumption. As this has happened, the hours worked by the typical person declined..."

Ryan Avent, 2017


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