Human Condition, The

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition: The human condition, for Arendt, is defined not by the universality of death but the uniqueness of each birth, not by individualism but by recognition of each other. Her book articulates the dignity of human activity: our ‘labor’ (repeated tasks to sustain life), ‘work’ (building things that last), and ‘action’ (engaging with humans as human, equal and unique). A German Jew who escaped the Holocaust, she rejects the view of workers as ‘human capital stock’ and would abhor their being driven back to work at the lowest possible wages without regard to their safety in service to business owners and the stock market. Arendt reminds us that the economy serves human beings, that true politics is ‘action,’ requiring consent grounded in mutual recognition of shared humanity.[recommended by Eileen Sweeney, Boston College]

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