"There are two types of work - one good - the other bad - one not far removed from a blessing, a lightening of life; the other a mere curse, a burden to life, the difference between them is hope - one has it, the other doesn't. It is manly to do one kind of work and manly to refuse to do the other."
He talks of hope in work of having three characteristics:
1) Hope of rest.
2) Hope of product (ie actually making something beautiful or useful)
3) Hope of pleasure in the work
And in all three hope of some abundance in each.
Morris writes that all other work but this is worthless; it is slaves' work, 'mere toiling to live, that we may live to toil.'
By the end of the book Morris has seen through the desperation of nineteenth century industrialisation and has a vision of a world where everyone works only for a few hours a day (unless they're artists or want to work more). We are all free to create and to think. He also talks about the sheer amount of waste we produce. Wasted lives of people forced to produce inferior goods which the poor are forced to buy. The waste of builders making inferior houses.
Machines are no longer enslaving us nor are worried entrepreneurs fighting one against the other using them to replace us. It's a wonderful utopian essay, and I would urge you to get hold of a copy!
your friend in cardboard! Dan