What Are the Purposes of Work?

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Work has several purposes, including practical reasons like earning enough money to pay for short-term and long-term expenses; it also provides people with a feeling of accomplishment, and contributes to developments that benefit communities and societies. Work, according to Aristotle, exists so that people can have leisure time, which is designed to allow for contemplation and relaxation. Work encourages productivity, and teaches important skills and lessons that benefit individuals and societies.

Work, according to some, provides primarily economic benefits. Most markets operate on a monetary system, and work allows for the continual operation and expansion of monetary-based economies. Work generates wages and revenue, and allows consumers and companies to purchase goods, services and make long-term investments to ensure the survival and advancement of societies.

Some theorists assert that work produces non-economic benefits, primarily by providing humanitarian assistance, whether intentional or not. These benefits derive from all kinds of employment and trades, including farming and medicine. Farmers, for instance, have the skills and resources to grow crops, which feed them, their families and community members. The hard work of farmers, accountants, doctors and other skilled workers ultimately help others survive and have higher qualities of life. In this respect, work provides love, care and support in addition to economic benefits.