"The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.
I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.
The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time.
Suddenly I have a lot more money and a lot less time, which means I have a lot more in common with the typical working North American than I did a few months ago. While I was abroad I wouldn’t have thought twice about spending the day wandering through a national park or reading my book on the beach for a few hours. Now that kind of stuff feels like it’s out of the question. Doing either one would take most of one of my precious weekend days!
But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing."
Good points. I mean, most people just probably end up wasting their weeknights because by the time you get home and eat, what do you have left? I am permanently single so I have the free time (and nobody home bitching at me) to go do things after work like work out or go to a class, but most people don't do that. And that's assuming that my day job didn't suck me dry and I lost the desire to do things after work, which happens sometimes. You pretty much can only live your life for 2 days a week, and I frequently find myself cramming in trips elsewhere or something like that a lot. I rarely have a weekend that has that time for vegging outdoors. I have more vegging in summer than I do the rest of the year, but that's because of a lot of shit being closed for God on Sunday....but that also means a lot of things can only get done/be crammed on a Saturday. Plus there's "summer hours" which make Saturday mornings and afternoons even more of a cram time.
As for the eight hours of work versus 3 hours of actual work....that sounds about right. My current job is pretty much "on call" in practice. I have a varying workload that usually boils down to a pile of things that don't take that long to do, but the pile varies from short to long and new piles form throughout the day. LIke the other day, I pretty much had a big enough pile to be working straight on from 8-2, but most days I finish pile #1 by about 9-10 a.m. and then have an hour or two or three to kill before the next pile comes in, repeat until 5. I work some specific shifts doing other things besides my usual load every other day and have to be backup if other people flake on their shifts on the other two days, but do I do 8 hours worth of work? Does anyone in here? I doubt it. We're paid for our time to be here when emergencies come in. So...well, let's just say that if you're doing something else while you wait for the next pile to come in, that is okay. So yeah, how much work do they get out of me during a day? Yeah, I'm over paid if you think of it that way. But then again, that's the point of "on call," you are paid to be interrupted with emergencies.
But. If they paid me only for the amounts of time I did work, could I pay the rent? Hah, no. Could anybody? We call it "full time" for a reason, because that's the amount of money we need to make to live. Most of us cannot survive on a part timer lifestyle, especially if we're single. If the corporations only paid us for the amount of work time we actually get done, we'd all be homeless and dying of starvation.
So how do you solve this problem? Uh...let's just hope the corporations don't notice.