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Field workers harvest cantaloupes on the outskirts of Maricopa County near Aguila, Arizona, on 29 July 2020. Photo by Ed Kashi/Vii/Headpress

Essay/
Work
The tyranny of work

Jobs have become, for so many, a relentless, unsatisfying toil. Why then does the work ethic still hold so much sway?

Jamie McCallum

Migrant construction workers sleep on the floor in Dubai in 2012. Photo by Jonas Bendickson/Magnum

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Gulf slave society

The glittering city-states of the Persian Gulf fit the classicist Moses Finley’s criteria of genuine slave societies

Bernard Freamon

A view of the 1964 World’s Fair in New York showing the Golden Rondelle Theater (upper left), Tower of Light (upper centre) and General Electric’s Pavilion featuring Walt Disney’s Progressland (upper right, blue and yellow lit dome). Photo by George Silk/LIFE/Getty

Essay/
History of ideas
The rise and rise of creativity

Once seen as the work of genius, how did creativity become an engine of economic growth and a corporate imperative?

Steven Shapin

Detail from La Malade (1892) by Felix Vallotton. Courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
Illness and disease
No rest

In the 19th century, the rest cure tested women’s sanity. Today, it challenges cherished myths about work and productivity

Alicia Puglionesi

Pakistani construction workers in the Business Bay area of Dubai, 2012. Photo by Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum

Essay/
Work
Universal unions

Being an employee is a threat to your liberty. But while firms exist, compulsory unions are a basic safeguard of freedom

Mark R Reiff

Photo by Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Essay/
Work
The flexible work fallacy

Breaking free of the 9-to-5 was originally a feminist project. So how did it become part of oppressive 24/7 work culture?

Sarah Stoller

Seamen relaxing on the HMS Pallas, April 1775. Early depictions of common seamen are exceedingly rare; this one is from an album of watercolours by Second Lieutenant Gabriel Bray aboard the ship. Courtesy the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Essay/
Oceans and water
Who was Jack Tar?

He was a patriot and a prisoner, a delegate and a drunk; circling the globe when few Englishmen ever left their home counties

Stephen Taylor