File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 2

Date: Fri, 01 Jun 2001 19:36:25 +0100
Subject: [Fwd: Weeping in a Rolls-Royce]


I was interested in this email (from sciene as culture list) because of the
extraordinay claims that we are working more now than in the 1960s. I feel deeply
suspicious of this claim. My suspicions are founded on the distrust I feel for
people who suggest things are worse now than they were for our parents and
grandparents - this level of pessimism always makes me want to scrutinise their
evidence. On a personal basis however I remember my father working standard 6 day
weeks and occasionally 7 days - in addition he only had two weeks holiday. His
father worked the same regime but only one weeks unpaid holiday a year. To claim
that a 21st worker is working longer hours than our forefathers is I suspect to
massage the evidence in unacceptable ways.

Compare these hours to myself - I never work weekends without days off in leiu-
25days holiday a year, have a standard 37.5 hours working week and work probably 45
hours and sometimes 50 hrs a week if travelling to the USA on business.. These are
not unsual working hours -

It is true however that working time directives are essential - standard 30 hour
weeks - preferably over 4 days... are a desirable and achievable goal.



Ian Pitchford wrote:

> Book Reviews - Weeping in a Rolls-Royce
> Book Reviews
> Christopher Gasson Monday 28th May 2001
> Blood, Sweat and Tears: the evolution of work
> Richard Donkin Texere, 400pp, 18.99
> ISBN 1587990768
> It is difficult not to feel a sense of betrayal about technological progress.
> We have invented machines to do work for us, but the more ingenious our
> inventions, the harder we find ourselves working. We have exchanged 40 hours of
> slavery in a soot-covered factory for a 70-hour week chained within the
> granite-faced confines of the giants of the new global service economy. The
> average American now works one month a year longer than he or she did in the
> 1960s. Britons, similarly, seem to be increasingly choosing work over leisure.
> As Richard Donkin makes clear in his broad history of work, Blood, Sweat and
> Tears, we have only ourselves to blame for so readily giving up our lives to
> our employers. It is a combination of our desires always staying one step ahead
> of our ability to afford them, our psychological need to define ourselves by
> our work, and an immutable work ethic, that continues to drive us long after
> the religion that spawned it ceased to be relevant.
> Full text:
> To view archive/subscribe/unsubscribe/select DIGEST go to
> Read The Human Nature Daily Review every day
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to


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