The Hours Trap: How overwork contributes to the waste of social resources and the degredation of personal time.

One of the tricks that capital plays on the worker is entrapment into excessive hours of work. The worker is enticed into overtime by time and a half schemes and other financial incentives. Wages are held low so the cost of a “comfortable” existence is not possible without excessive hours at work.

The resulting lack of leisure time is also a deprivation of time that a working person would otherwise spend to have comfort in their own existence by means of their own efforts.

Man with snowblower

Man with snowblower

We eat fast food take out in the car on the way to work because we lack the time to make a decent breakfast. “Labor saving” and electronic entertainment devices are sold to us as compensation for the deprivation of our personal time. The devices are only affordable to us if we work extra hours.

It is worth considering that the working class in the current age has lost a battle that was fought for and to a certain extent consolidated in the last century. That is the fight for the eight hour day and 40 hours work week.

As demand returns to the labor market and the capitalist measure of “unemployment” approaches 5% –of course not counting millions driven out of the work force in the recent crisis and millions more of younger workers who have not been provided the skills and education to enjoy meaningful employment, and the millions working multiple simultaneous part time jobs who are counted as “employed.” Further pressure to increase working hours should be resisted.

We should as well resist the temptation to fill the void in our lives created by excessive work and a deprivation of personal, family and creative leisure time with compulsive consumption.

About rawlinsview

News and political commentary from the point of view of the social interests of the international working class.
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