The purpose of this book is to examine waysin which our ideas about work have developed and the values that underlie our assumptions about its importance. Some part of this examination will concern the development of ideas from classical and Christian origins to a capitalist framework of theory and to the radical alternatives, as they appear to be, of anarchism and communism . The rest will be occupied with contemporary views about work, reviewing attempts directed at overcoming what is often described as the problem of the alienated worker in industrial society. If the worker is to be spoken of as a problem then there is already an implication that work and its attendant values may be perceived differently by those who control it and by those who do it.