Currently pondering: creative vs. distributive work

Economic life is a mix of creative and distributive work. Creative work is defined as creating something (a tangible good, or idea) that adds to the total available for all to enjoy while distributive work is defined as work that takes goods or services that would otherwise be available to others and therefore comes at their expense.¬†¬†Successful societies maximize the creative and minimize the distributive. Societies where everyone can only achieve gains at the expense of others are by definition impoverished. (See Roger Bootle’s The Trouble with Markets)

“This distinction between creative and distributive activities applies in today’s society. Consider the doctor tending to a patient or the midwife helping to deliver a baby. Everything they do is creative rather than distributive.

Or consider the marketing executive for a washing powder manufacturer. Her job is pretty much purely distributive. It is to do her best to ensure that her company sells more washing powder than its rivals. If she succeeds, the rewards will be greater for her and her company. But her success will be mirrored by other companies doing badly. Her contribution is purely distributive. Most jobs are a mixture of the creative and distributive. And society needs a mixture.”

just an interesting thought/book.


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