The money disease has degraded the value of productive work. It creates stress, wastes resources and prevents people from working in the best way they can.

Research shows that there are three things that make work enjoyable and fulfilling. They are capacity, autonomy and usefulness.

Capacity means that work should match a person’s level of ability: not too demanding to be overwhelming; not so unchallenging as to become boring.

Autonomy means that the worker can self-organise and use their initiative. They have enough control over the way a job is done that they can do it to the very best of their ability.

Usefulness means what it says. It means that the person doing the work feels that they are contributing in ways that will improve people’s lives.

Work that is designed only to make more money out of money is not useful in this sense. It may be useful to someone, because it makes them richer, but if this means redirecting wealth away from other people then it’s not useful overall.

A lot of work involves allocating money. This is what commercial lawyers, managers and accountants do. They decide what goes to workers, suppliers, shareholders, etc., and how much to charge customers. Many government officers do this sort of work, too.

This work is useful to some extent, but you wouldn’t want too much of it. The more people who are counting wealth, the fewer people are producing it, and yet this is the area of work that has grown most rapidly in the UK in recent years.

The most useful work produces new wealth that didn’t exist before. This is the work of cultivating, making, caring, healing, feeding and the many other things that contribute directly to the quality of people’s lives.

This work is often the most under-valued. Doctors may be well paid, but commercial lawyers, accountants and managers do better. Teachers are generally way behind, while carers, cleaners, farm-workers, cooks and other key workers are among the worst paid in the whole economy.

They’re also often the least autonomous – insecure, under pressure and beholden to the whims of employers. And they are more likely to lack capacity, not because they’re not good at their jobs but because they are not given enough time or freedom to do them properly.

When the focus is on cost-savings and a monetary return, the value of productive work gets lost in the drive to make it cheaper. So people can’t work to the best of their capacity.

That’s the money disease in action, prioritising money over real wealth, sucking it out of the real economy and starving productive workers of the resources they need.