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The Economist Book of Business Quotations by Bill Ridgers

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L

“Labour

Between labour and play stands work. A man is a worker if he is personally interested in the job which society pays him to do; what from the point of view of society is necessary labour is from his point of view voluntary play. Whether a job is to be classified as labour or work depends, not on the job itself, but on the tastes of the individual who undertakes it. The difference does not, for example, coincide with the difference between a manual and a mental job; a gardener or a cobbler may be a worker, a bank clerk a labourer.

W.H. Auden, poet (1907–73), “Work, Labour and Play”, A Certain World: A Commonplace Book (1970)

A man’s labour is not only his capital but his life. When it passes it returns never more. To utilise it, to prevent ...

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