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Leisure Time


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In school geography lessons, I seemed to be always studying people's leisure time.

I gained the impression from the teacher that we could look forward to having more of this as technology and automation brought increased production efficiency, and humans could work less.

Progress towards this utopian ideal has stalled, though, hasn't it? In fact it has gone the other way because both mums and dads now work, and the retirement age has been raised.

My question is, how was increased leisure time ever meant to work? Was everyone meant to have reduced hours, or would some key people carry on working, whilst others had no job whatsoever? If the latter, is this unemployment the sort of thing we see the welfare state supporting?

Also, why doesn't the cost of living come down with technological growth, so that in the extreme, everything becomes free? Has intellectual property rights got something to do with it? Do we need to move towards collectivism where a benign government plans, owns the means of production, and looks after us?

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The cost of food has never been so cheap which is a technological return. Same with energy, Natural gas in the US is super cheap with the advances in fracking and would be the same here if the crown didn't own the minerals in the ground. It's only houses that are super expensive, as we compete with our surplus income we are essentially bidding against each other to work longer foregoing our leisure time. Building your own would be cheaper if you had the land and permission but I'm sure a bubble would swell in the cost of land if that were the case.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The cost of food has never been so cheap which is a technological return. Same with energy, Natural gas in the US is super cheap with the advances in fracking and would be the same here if the crown didn't own the minerals in the ground. It's only houses that are super expensive, as we compete with our surplus income we are essentially bidding against each other to work longer foregoing our leisure time.

Concisely put, and agreed with.

Edited by crashmonitor
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  • 3 weeks later...

Back in the sixties there was a lot of stuff about how machines would take over most work and we'd all have stacks of free time.

I also remember reading as a kid that we wouldn't need meals as such any more - a few pills would supply all the nutrients we needed. Far cry from the current foodie climate, emphasis on 'natural' and organic, etc.

Never mind all the 60s mania for ripping out anything old in houses - another thing that has undergone a complete about face.

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