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‘Commuting is one of the things we hate.’ (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
‘Commuting is one of the things we hate.’ (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

Keynes' theory

Where’s our life of leisure? Add to ...

“It’s seen as a virtue.” – John Robinson

“Except for the financially independent, people aren’t really free to choose their hours of work. They are either caught in the rat race or trying to make ends meet.” – Nicole Fortin

“This is obviously a difficult question. Economist Robert Frank would likely argue that what is happening is a sort of Darwinian effect. Drastically simplifying this argument, it is essentially: If I work harder, I may be able to buy a bigger house and live in a better neighbourhood. But if everyone works harder, we are all relatively in the same position we were before, only now we are all working harder. Frank uses examples from nature – the male moose with larger antlers ‘wins’ by getting to mate more. But over time, as all male moose evolve to have larger and larger antlers, this becomes a problem for the group (reduced mobility, etc.). So I think this individual vs. group process is playing out somewhat in the work/leisure domain, with everyone feeling they should work harder, but no one really gaining an advantage from doing so.” – June Cotte

“Some work is hugely fulfilling and is fundamentally and psychologically leisure. You see it in the professions, small business, consulting, where people just love their work. For them it’s leisure. It’s not a big group, but I’m one of them.” – Robert Stebbins

“Working longer may be an indication people are not necessarily ‘working hard,’ measured in terms of effort per unit time.” – Chris Green

“People continue to work hard because the work ethic is reinforced, often without regard to working smart. Hard work is still measured by over-work, and those who work inefficiently are often rewarded with additional help or overtime. There’s increased pressure to combine work, family and education. Individuals that can’t successfully juggle these obligations, or choose not to, are considered lazy and unworthy of support or promotion. People often work more and more hours, but accomplish relatively little more than during a traditional workday, due to fatigue, inattentiveness or the need for frequent breaks. Some people prefer to work long hours and are more productive when they do, so individual preferences must be considered in assessing quality of leisure. Work, paid or not, can be part of self-affirmation and identity. Many find relaxation and fulfilment from more than one type of activity. This may mean interspersing leisure moments through the week, rather than waiting for long periods of down-time. Individuals with too little leisure may need to broaden their repertoire of activities. But there’s no ‘one size fits all’ model of successful leisure. How individuals experience leisure often results in the perception of leisure deficit. But by re-thinking how time is used and organized, one may achieve a greater sense of leisure empowerment and balance.” – Veda Ward

“We’re working hard in the market sector, but time devoted to work at home has fallen. Vacuum cleaners, microwaves, restaurants, etc. have all reduced the time we spend maintaining our households.” Working in the market sector allows us to afford time-saving devices at home. This is all the more true, given that the price of these devices has fallen, relative to market wages (particularly for high educated individuals).” – Erik Hurst

“Time has the quality of pace as well as duration. The pace of life has accelerated, as efficiency has become the number-one value of the U.S. – it’s almost number one in Canada, but things are a bit slower there. … Efficiency and the open-ended materialism and greed that characterize our culture combine to make time seem scarce. And the desire to increase the marginal utility on time means that all human activity is sped up. Activities that can't be sped up decline in popularity. Almost all sports, for example, have been sped up – or attempts are being made to do so.” – Geoffrey Godbey, Professor Emeritus, Penn State University

If you personally had more leisure, what would you use it for?

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