The title of this essay refers not, as one might have imagined, to that moment in the spring of 2020 near the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic when tens of millions of people across the world were suddenly laid off or furloughed or told to work from home and a worldwide economic slowdown began. Despite the echoes of this most recent crisis, my title refers instead to all the discourses regarding the “end of work” that have cropped up periodically since the end of the nineteenth century and that drew widespread public attention back in the 1990s, due in large part to Jeremy Rifkin's book The End of Work.1 In that now classic work of 1995, Rifkin, the well-known economic and social theorist, predicted the end of work as we know it, as more and more jobs once performed by human beings in the agricultural, manufacturing, and even...

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