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Economist Humor: Leisure vs. Work

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Tags Production Theory

07/17/2007

"180 Trillion Leisure Hours Lost To Work Last Year," says The Onion. The article actually presents some fundamental problems of scarcity in rather interesting ways. Why do we only think in terms of work-hours lost? Probably because that's what the organizations who fund such studies care about, but in future, it's not too difficult to imagine a time when leisure hours might actually outnumber work hours. It's not unreasonable to think that productivity could rise to a level where we might enjoy a 3.5 day work week. Then, we'd only lose half of our leisure time to work. Says the "study":

"Week after week of potential relaxation time is squandered to jobs, with millions of would-be leisurers prohibited from sleeping in, working on hobbies, or taking trips," said Kletter, executive director of the Five-To-Nine Foundation. "An average employed person's ability to stroll aimlessly around his town and 'do whatever' is basically nonexistent 49 weeks out of the year."

"Ironically, the unemployed fared the best in this report," Kletter said. "One of the questions that remains unanswered, unfortunately, is how jobless citizens' high number of available leisure hours somehow fails to translate into overall happiness."

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