Leisure Capitalism

I’ve been reading, lately, about this idea, sort of a thought experiment I guess, offered by an innovative thinker that addresses concerns about the health of our planet. The idea, leisure capitalism, proposes reducing the hours workers work by as much as half. The twenty hour work week would reduce considerably the toxic emissions we are presently spewing into the atmosphere and relieve pressure on our contaminated waterways and depleted forests. These things will be accomplished by reducing work commutes, industrial run-off and large-scale harvesting of South American rain forest.

The wealth of the developed world could easily compensate workers with a living wage and, one would think leisure capitalism would be an idea enthusiastically embraced by the majority of people who could then pursue recreational interests, the nature of which might responsibly be directed toward healthy non-polluting activities.

While the western world is scaling down production developing countries could be encouraged to increase production, raising the standard of living for many in poverty to reasonable levels enjoyed by most of us, after which production can be reduced and people everywhere can find meaning in recreational pursuits.

Seems to me like a great idea for those of us who find pleasure and meaning in activities not providing a paycheck, but I suspect there will be plenty of folks not willing to forego wealth accumulation, status relationships and economic power. The folks, who, I suspect, find it expedient to deny climate change wouldn’t look favorably toward doubling (tripling?) worker wages in the interests of bringing our earth back to full health.

Well, in my mind, the idea of leisure capitalism is optimistic and uplifting even though probably unrealizable. Still, let’s hope innovative thinkers will always be with us.

What we’re all entitled to

I guess it’s pretty clear there are those among us who presume moral entitlement, whose imagined self-worth provides them the impetus to butt into lines, swerve dangerously through traffic, and, generally, push off the stage those they find to be in the way of their selfish desires. Depending on the degree to which such people imagine their superiority, their behavior may range from petty annoyances to total disregard for the welfare of those around them.

I’ve been reading that there is evidence to suggest egregious behavior of this sort is becoming more and more common and that it threatens to undermine the values necessary to maintain a cooperative, free society. Cooperation all too often depends on realization of personal benefit. The idea of acting in the interests of mutual benefit for all, of equality and justice, is waning, no longer a viable concept for some.

I guess our capitalistic notions of ‘working hard to get ahead’, which certainly accounts for much good being accomplished, can get out control sometimes, a bit too dog eat dog, blinds some people to the true values of mutual well-being.

I’m going to start thinking more about mankind’s common entitlement to a reasonably happy and content existence, maybe spend some time working toward a more just distribution of resources. Maybe I’ll invite the neighbors over for tea.