“This allows us to propose the notion of false activity: you think you are active, while your true position, as it is embodied in the fetish, is passive”
Slavoj Zizek (http://www.egs.edu/faculty/slavoj-zizek/articles/the-interpassive-subject/)
The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the ‘60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.