What is Arbite



Purposeful, social, planned and conscious, physical and mental activity. Originally, work was the process of human interaction with nature in order to directly secure livelihood; became indirect with increasing social differentiation and division of labor and the development of an exchange economy and money economy.

In the Antiquity and in middle Ages the conceptual contents of work were negative and derogatory: work was considered an unworthy activity, the linguistic synonyms of which were hardship, plague, burden and need; it thus became a matter for the lower social classes. Only through the Christian religion work received a positive destiny; esp. in the Protestant ethics work is identical with the fulfillment of duty and godly doing, and in an ascetic way of life characterized by work the predestination for eternal bliss is already visible in this world. The positive evaluation of work has established itself in the early industrializing western societies; Weber (1864–1920) saw Protestant ethics as the prerequisites for the capitalist industrialization process. Even now, work, including earned income and the success that is documented in it, is rated positively.

Economic theory

Production factor alongside land and capital. Like soil, work is an original production factor.

The problem is that the inseparability of man and labor is not taken into account; therefore labor is called the actual factor of production, land and real capital the means of production.

See also theory of values.

Since the person of the worker and the submission of work are inseparable, an increasing division of labor (specialization) can represent higher productivity and self-development (Smith), but also a restriction of self-determination and self-development up to the complete external determination of the employee (Marx); it can be the cause of social tension. Counteracting this is the purpose of the Works Constitution and Codetermination Acts, see Codetermination Act (MitbestG).

In the short and medium term oriented Keynesian macroeconomics, work is the only variable factor of production. His remuneration is based on the neoclassical marginal productivity theory. In neoclassical approaches, the labor supply is derived from the utility maximization approaches of a representative household (labor market). Work (as opposed to leisure) is generally perceived as suffering, i.e. it is associated with a negative marginal utility.


1. Generally While work was considered a practice in ancient Greece and thus inferior to theory, it is first upgraded through the “pray and work” of Benedict of Nursia. Since the Reformation, and especially since Hegel and Marx, work has become a fundamental determination of man.

2. Business ethics of importance is work related
(1) a humanization of the world of work,
(2) the idea of ​​human self-realization through and in work (both together lead to new, modern forms of work organization) and
(3) widespread mass unemployment. Unemployment is not just about adequate social security for the unemployed, as work is part of the identity of modern man. Although there cannot be an enforceable individual “right to work” because of the economic incentives to work, also in terms of business ethics (business ethics), unemployment remains a socio-political challenge.


Work is a process in which people enter into social relationships that are of central importance in the entire context of life; this includes the structuring of time, social recognition and self-esteem.

The forms of work determine the type of social relationships beyond the work process and are an expression of the level of development of societies, their social structures, forms of organization and cooperation and systems of rule; consequently, social change and the change in work forms and work content are closely related. Work and society have been exposed to a change since industrialization, which is mainly determined by the development of technology and the increasing digitalization of the economy, which directly affects work and leads to structural changes in the economy and society.

An essential aspect for the future of work is the increasing leisure time, which affects the central position of work in the human context and the importance of work for social relationships. It is very likely that the meaning of work will change because employees have to change their company and possibly their job several times in the course of their working life and are increasingly forced to improve their human capital as a result of ongoing technological change.

See also alienation, job satisfaction.

Ergonomics / industrial management

Originally, work was only viewed as an expression of the economically relevant amount of cost goods. The definition was based on the economic effects of work, which is based on the use of labor in time: work = labor × working time.

Labor and working time, however, are not economic terms or facts, but have their roots in physics, physiology, sociology, psychology, etc. For this reason, today work is understood much more comprehensively as a human being's potential for securing livelihoods, and for some of the employed also self-preservation.