It is important that people who put a lot of effort into their work, do something that is needed for everyday life, something that is valid and fruitful.
It is not a question of letting as many people as possible be involved in some task, so that they can make a living, but it is a question of participating in activities that will involve people in something that is truly worthwhile in a social sense, something that will be helpful towards developing an effective social system.
For example, consider how many books are printed today, of which not even fifty copies will be sold. Now, take such a book – how many people will have been working on it until it is finally finished! They earn their livelihoods, but they have a completely unnecessary task. It would be more sensible if they took on a different task whereby they could relieve innumerable other people from such useless activities. However, numerous typographic services, countless book binders, produce stacks of books – usually lyrical poems, but lots of other unnecessary written work is produced as well, piles of books are produced; Almost everything will be destroyed again. But such unnecessary activities are often engaged in today; Countless things are done unnecessarily.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, August 30, 1920 (page 99-100)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Previously posted on August 23, 2018