S is for Stakhanovite

By: Joshua Glenn
June 11, 2012

A series of 26 posts featuring excerpts from Joshua Glenn’s The Idler’s Glossary (Biblioasis, 2008) and The Wage Slave’s Glossary (Biblioasis, 2011). Both books were coauthored by Mark Kingwell, who contributed entertaining philosophical-critical essays on the subjects of idling and wage slavery; and both were wittily illustrated and designed by the cartoonist Seth.


The term derives from the name of Aleksei Grigoievich Stakhanov, a Soviet-era Russian udarnik (superproductive, enthusiastic laborer) who in 1935 supposedly mined 102 tons of coal in less than six hours — fourteen times his quota. A Stakhanovite movement, which looked both to Taylorist efficiencies and worker enthusiasm to increase labor productivity in the USSR, was born that same year; workers whose output exceeded quota were awarded recognition and privileges. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945), the workhorse Boxer is a Stakhanovite type, whose response to every problem is “I will work harder!” PS: After Stalin’s death, it was revealed that Stakhanov hadn’t actually mined all that coal.


ALSO: Alienation | Big Rock Candy Mountains | Corporation | Dawdle | Employee of the Month | Flazy | Greybearding | Hobo | Inemuri | Jack of All Trades | Knock Off Work | Lazy | Micawberish | Nobbing It | Onboarding | Pink Slip | Quitter | Robot | Stakhanovite | Time and Motion Study | Unemployment | Volupté | Wage Slavery | Xerox Subsidy | Yakuza | Zero Drag


Idleness, Read-outs