"Why believe in work, when it doesn't believe in you?"

NEW!! News Update, 31st October, 2000

PUBLIC REACTION October 22nd's article in the The Observer, 'Welcome to The Play Ethic', has had an excellent response. All the coming November lectures at the ICA, 'Looking Towards A Play Ethic', have now SOLD OUT...Richard Reeves of the Industrial Society devoted his column in The Guardian to a discussion of the Play Ethic....In the US, Microsoft's prestigious webzine Slate featured the Observer article as one of its webpicks in its Omnivore column....On Friday 27th, Pat Kane had a discussion on play and work on BBC Radio 3's Nightwaves with Evan Davis, economics correspondant with BBC2's Newsnight, and Frank Furedi, author of Culture of Fear. (We'll post the audio extract here soon)....And Rebecca Abrams, author of The Playful Self, will be reacting to the essay in the 13th November edition of the New Statesman.

E-MAIL AVALANCHE In addition, there's been scores of e-mails coming into the PlayEthic website. Apart from the postings in the Players' Forum, there have been many passionate, intelligent and supportive communications sent to players@theplayethic.com. We've posted a few of them here. And Pat Kane has responded to a few of the comments here. Many thanks, and keep 'em coming!


The Play Ethic is a multi-media project founded by writer, musician and theorist Pat Kane.

In an era of rising workplace stress, constant anxiety about our "quality-of-life", and a relentless pace of technological change, it's time to ask whether the "work ethic" has outlived its usefulness. Appropriate for the first industrial revolution, perhaps, in its disciplined and puritan approach to human activity - but surely wrong for a knowledge economy which values fluidity, inventiveness and creativity.

Yet however mercurial and unstable these new times might be, we still need to strive for social justice. How do we forge a collective "ethic" that can bring civility and democracy to the Information Age - but moving with its grain, harnessing its energies and potentials, rather than set against it?

The Play Ethic is one particular contribution to the most important discussion of our times - and one which looks to the rich traditions of play (as fundamental and meaningful to the human condition as work) to bring some new insights to the debate. Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote that "as we apprehend ourselves as free and wish to use our freedom, then our activity is to play". Through a rolling schedule of lectures, books, articles, web-forums and e-services, The Play Ethic invites men and women to become "players" in their own lives, communities, businesses and networks.