On The Great Resignation

by Nikos Mourkogiannis

February, 2022

In my previous post, I put forth my thoughts on the moral hazards created by new dispositions towards work and their impact on our current economy. To advance the dialogue on this subject, I believe that in this second post I should first provide answers to those who kindly took the time to publicly provide me their feedback, which was thoughtfully centered on the topic of  “great resignation”.   

1. I plead guilty to the charge that my article was lacking a clear ideological perspective on the “great resignation”.  
I believe that ideology is a poor substitute for philosophy. 

2. I understand that the so-called “great resignation” is attributed to excessive government spending and by some to levels of compensation that are not worth working for.  
I do not find any of these two positions explaining in a compelling way the complex predicament we are in and providing a way forward. This can indeed be seen by some of my readers as leaving “loose ends”.

3. Furthermore, I confess that I did not even attempt to answer the question of “why the great resignation”, as I believe: 
Firstly, that a compelling answer can only come from ex-post empirical research. I, therefore, do not want to advance as true merely plausible working hypotheses- like several respected but partisan columnists do. 
Secondly, that focusing, as others do by force of habit, on the causes of the currently prevailing dispositions towards work might provide attention-catching titles for articles but will polarize us rather than catalyze action. 

4. I believe that one ton of analysis is not worth a kilogram of action. 
Action is indeed needed because the “great resignation” is only the tip of the ice burgh that we are facing. I, therefore, prefer to see things from the perspective of Purpose, because unity of Purpose is what is needed for sustainable action.  

5. The journey for Purpose – following Socrates's, Plato's and Aristotle’s advice- should start by focusing on the “essence” (in Greek: ουσία), i.e., on “what is” that we are facing in the physical world and “what it is not”. We should then contemplate its “purpose” (in Greek: τέλος), i.e., its inherent full potential. Then and only then we could deal with it in a way that is advancing our own purpose, which for all humans is nothing less than fulfillment (in Greek: ευδαιμονία). 
In the next post, we follow the advice of the Three Sages of the School of Athens, and we will undertake exactly this journey by distilling our complex current predicament down to its essence. We will then contemplate its potential and then we will share a framework for sustainable action.
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