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Willisms

« Quotational Therapy: Part 70 -- Black-On-Black Crime. | WILLisms.com | Guess Where Else Mohammed Shows Up? »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 257 -- Leisure Time In America.

Working For The Weekend-

Well, the weekend is here again. Time for leisure. Time for rest. Time for fun. Time for all that stuff for most Americans.

But for many of us, with our busy, complicated lives, this will not seem that familiar:

hammockeconomy.gif

An interesting factoid. It seems like liberals like Paul Krugman are always asserting that the European way of life is superior to the American way of life. More leisure and vacation is usually the main reason. This from an "economist."

Well, while it's true that the French are on vacation pretty much always, things aren't so bad in the United States, either:

Americans may put in longer hours at the office than other countries, but that is because average hours in the workplace in other rich countries have dropped sharply. In America, official studies tend to show women working more and men less, but the average working week has been fairly constant.

Indeed, "work/life balance" is a buzz phrase in many corporations these days. Surprisingly (or maybe not), Americans have increasingly more free time:

Over the past four decades, depending on which of their measures one uses, the amount of time that working-age Americans are devoting to leisure activities has risen by 4-8 hours a week. (For somebody working 40 hours a week, that is equivalent to 5-10 weeks of extra holiday a year.) Nearly every category of American has more spare time: single or married, with or without children, both men and women. The only twist is that less educated (and thus poorer) Americans have done relatively better than more educated ones (see chart). And that is not just because unemployed high-school drop-outs have more free time on their hands. Less educated Americans with jobs—the overstretched middle class of political lore—do very well.

But the world is less simple. Lives are more complicated. People are more sophisticated. Interestingly, our leaps forward in prosperity have created a situation where time is more valuable than ever before. Thus, people try to use up every moment "productively" (I know I can do this sometimes):

First, thanks to rising real incomes, an American's time is worth more now. A walk in the park is more expensive than it used to be. (When people complain to him about being too busy, Mr Hamermesh tells them that their real problem is too much money.) Second, economic advances allow people to squeeze ever more possible activities, both work and leisure, into a day, which encourages people to try to do too much.

A very interesting take on leisure time. Read the whole thing if you have the time.

Source:
The Economist.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Effectiveness Of Abortion Laws.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 February 2006 04:08 PM

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