Iconic Philosopher of 19th Century
Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.
Iconic Philosopher of 20th Century
Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.
In a lovely little 1932 essay, In Praise of Idleness, he wrote: "If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day there would be enough for everybody, and no unemployment – assuming a very moderate amount of sensible organisation." At the time this suggestion met with ridicule, but as the toll of long working hours on individuals, families and communities becomes increasingly apparent, the time for taking Russell’s idea seriously may slowly but surely be arriving.