As I understand it generating work so as to avoid unemployment is one of the main reasons given for the desirability of economic growth as well as for the almost pathological fear of any reduction in growth. Whether the production that constitutes that growth (or negative growth) is really needed or is even destructive seems to be given secondary importance.
I believe one of the things that keeps us in this absurd situation is that working for a living has become our means to survival even if the things that that work produces contribute nothing or are destructive to our well-being/survival. It seems that we have the technological and organisational knowhow to have a more than adequate lifestyle on much less work than we are doing now. I think one of the main reasons this does not happen is that we have elevated an abstract concept (working to earn a living) to equal if not greater importance than the actuality of working to produce the real needs for living. Once we have produced what is needed for our level of lifestyle then it is patently absurd to go on working (and producing) simply to get the means to access the things that had already been produced.
There have been various solutions put forward to solve this problem. For example, some people advocate the guaranteed minimum income as a way separating the work/income connection. While I am not against this, I believe a lot can be achieved by staying with the problem for longer. Once the absurdity of what we are doing would be seen more widely, then enormous amounts of creative energy to find solutions would be released. By absurdity I mean that we are running faster and faster to stay in the same spot or even go backwards when we could just let the machines do the running for us.