“Nobody Wants to Work Anymore”

Over the past few months, I’ve encountered the following meme online.

I thought it would be fun to look for the original articles from which these quotes were pulled, so I did that.

Memes like this are cute and are pretty good a making a convincing point, but those quotes lack context and nuance.

Some of the articles aren’t about capitalists complaining about a lack of cheap labor, though, but rather about old people complaining about young people, and how things were better back in the day when they were young and people were hard-working, in their eyes.

If anything is true, this is an old story: people have been saying “nobody wants to work anymore” to describe the current economic situation for a long time here in the United States.

Bonus Content

Other articles showed up while doing these searches on Newspapers.com, so I’d like to share a couple more articles for your enjoyment.

This first one is about a policeman informant who described criminals he helped bust.

This last one is a real gem, though. In Virginia in 1946, a bill was proposed in the House of Delegates to abolish work because “nobody wants to work”, of course.

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4 thoughts on ““Nobody Wants to Work Anymore””

    1. Absolutely! It’s a very old trope, indeed, and I appreciate you sharing that link.

      I think we are constantly experiencing morals panics about young people. Back in the 90s, people were worried that Gen X was a “lost generation” because it was full of disaffected, lazy slackers who wouldn’t amount to much in life. Nowadays, we’re worried about social media and all the negative impacts on youth. Back in the 1950s, people thought rock-n-roll music and television were ruining children.

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