sixteenth century sources associate the notion of labour in the andes with that of enjoyment, while most colonial spaniards and modern anthropologists see it as obligatory, ignoring its ritual dimensions. generally speaking, western theorists of labour, whether marxist or not, link labour and production with alienation. drawing on her fieldwork experience, the author notes that there is no aymara word for labour in general. more important is the purpose and beneficiary of labour. andeans not only value labour aimed at strengthening their own social networks, but more specifically labour that benefits the community to which they belong. the andean ethic of labour therefore leads it to be considered as a blessing, in opposition to judaeo-christian ways of considering it as a curse.