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Play! OR ELSE.

"But in a consumer culture committed to prolonging adolescence at all costs, the boundaries demarcating child and adult experience have blurred to the point that it’s no longer obvious just who is imitating whom. The American state of play is terminally confused. Much of it feels grimly compulsory, and carries with it a whiff of preemptive failure to achieve the target level of revelry." Mandatory fun, the drudgery of child's play, and the American trend toward rejuveniliaztion are among the topics touched on in "Play, Dammit."
posted by MonkeyToes on Mar 19, 2014 - 73 comments

 

El Empleo / The Employment

El Empleo / The Employment by Santiago 'Bou' Grasso
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 3, 2013 - 5 comments

Where would be the fun in watching a driverless Formula 1 race?

Brad DeLong, recently installed at Equitablog, lays out a future (wonkish) where the returns to capital keep increasing relative to labor: "What do we people do to add value? Eight things... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 9, 2013 - 29 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

Learning how to live

Why do we find free time so terrifying? Why is a dedication to work, no matter how physically destructive and ultimately pointless, considered a virtue?
posted by Anima Mundi on Aug 26, 2013 - 68 comments

Eat Ice Cream

In his meticulous diaries, written from 1846 to 1882, the Harvard librarian John Langdon Sibley complains often about the withering summer heat: “The heat wilts & enervates me & makes me sick,” he wrote in 1852. Sibley lived before the age of air-conditioning, but recent research suggests that his observation is still accurate: summer really does tend to be a time of reduced productivity. Our brains do, figuratively, wilt. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jul 23, 2013 - 128 comments

Work, leisure, and AI.

Rule No. 1 is tomorrow we die; and Rule No. 2 is nobody, not even the most helpful robot, can change Rule No. 1. The Barbed Gift of Leisure in The Chronicle Review looks at how robots, by replacing our need to work, can change our relationship with leisure. The problem with robots is that (1) they are scary and (2) if you don't have to do any work, your ability to enjoy your time-off dissipates. It's nothing that Veblen, Marx, and Debord didn't anticipate.
posted by stinker on Mar 26, 2013 - 56 comments

Good photos of cool rich midcentury Americans on yachts in New England.

Good photos of cool rich midcentury Americans on yachts in New England.
posted by maiamaia on Mar 26, 2013 - 95 comments

sea & sky

seaQuest: what if we could learn to live on/underneath the oceans (or in orbit)? [previously(er)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Workers of the world... Relax!

"Because work is unnecessary except to those whose power it secures, workers are shifted from relatively useful to relatively useless occupations as a measure to assure public order." -- The Abolition Of Work by Bob Black [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 29, 2013 - 92 comments

15 hour working week, where art thou?

The Golden Age, an essay by prominent Australian economist John Quiggin, reflecting on the current relevance and future possibilities of Keynes 1930 essay, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.
posted by wilful on Sep 27, 2012 - 16 comments

the dawn of a Star Trek generation

In Praise of Leisure - "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 22, 2012 - 117 comments

Kids Today

First we started with planking, then owling, and then it go so hot we just dove in. We're all familiar with planking. (Some tragically so.) An obvious exponent would be owling (even by celebrities! and more celebrities!) Now we're leisure diving.
posted by kinsey on Jul 25, 2011 - 103 comments

A Quest For Gameplay

GLOBALTIMOTO - one man, on a motorcycle, around the world, in a quest for gameplay.
posted by jtron on Feb 14, 2011 - 1 comment

Futurama, baby

Goodwill: Monetary policy for the 21st century
Here's my proposal. We should try to arrange things so that the marginal unit of CPI is purchased with "helicopter drop" money. That is, rather than trying to fine-tune wages, asset prices, or credit, central banks should be in the business of fine tuning a rate of transfers from the bank to the public. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 19, 2010 - 20 comments

from grit to horseshit

TV serials, says Richard Beck, self-consciously set out from the very beginning to get us to take them seriously. From Hill Street Blues to The West Wing to The Sopranos and The Wire, how the television series convinced us that it was art — and now, why Lost's achievement of success via casual genre mixing and narrative derangement might signal that there's no future creative ground left within the old limits of serial drama.
posted by hat on May 24, 2010 - 120 comments

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

Stress: Our collective mood - "there seems to be a correlation between stress and lack of holidays. More important, however, is whether a relationship exists between either and economic performance. The data is equivocal. On average Americans put in an extra two hours a week compared with UK workers. Yet both countries had almost identical crises, while lazier nations fared considerably better." also btw: Why Women Don't Want Macho Men (cf. A Theory for Why Latvian Women are Beautiful) & Study Shows People In Power Make Better Liars (The psychology of power or The Duke and Dirty Harry)
posted by kliuless on Mar 27, 2010 - 21 comments

the four-day workweek

The Environmental and Economic Pluses of the 4-Day Workweek: "Forget everybody working for the weekend. In Utah all government employees have shifted to a four-day workweek, and the state is calling it a win-win-win for its budget, workers and clean air. Utah has saved $1.8 million in electrical bills in the last year, the air has been spared an estimated 6,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, and workers are thrilled. Eighty-two percent of them say they prefer the new arrangement, which still enforces the 40-hour week by requiring 10 or more hours a day Monday - [Thursday]. Is it time to ask your boss if you can take off Friday .... forever?" (via)
posted by kliuless on Aug 6, 2009 - 34 comments

Feliz Dia Del Trabajador

Hope withers on the vine. A look at daily life among the produce workers in Mecca, California.
posted by univac on Jun 23, 2009 - 18 comments

Why work?

We're a pro-leisure and anti-wage-slavery group of people dedicated to exploring the question: why work? (related)
posted by Joe Beese on Jun 23, 2009 - 142 comments

your leisure is my pleasure

Idle Theory: Life Does The Least
posted by kliuless on Dec 6, 2008 - 28 comments

"Happiness is thought to depend on leisure; for we are busy that we may have leisure, and make war that we may live in peace." Aristotle

In Praise of Idleness, Why Crunch Mode Doesn't Work, and The Five Day Work Week. via
posted by anotherpanacea on Dec 14, 2007 - 24 comments

Fashion!

"Our dress, therefore, in order to serve its purpose effectually, should not only be expensive, but it should also make plain to all observers that the wearer is not engaged in any kind of productive labor." The Piracy Paradox: why weak IP laws drive the fashion industry. Headscarves on the catwalk in Jakarta; Almaty Fashion Week draws to a close.
posted by stammer on Nov 29, 2006 - 5 comments

Never work.

Never wanna work/Always wanna play/Pleasure, pleasure every day. What happens when the jobs go away and don't return? Should we take the surpluses generated and pay people not to work? What happens to the assumption of scarcity when nanotechology allows us to generate potentially anything we want from grass clippings? Maybe Marx had it wrong all along. Maybe, instead of fetishizing work and the authoritarian mindset that it generates, we should have been reading Paul Lafargue instead. Just as a thought experiment, what would you do if your job category disappeared? How would you spend your time? Would you invest more time and energy in friendships and other relationships? Hobbies? If you were your employer, what technologies would you use to get rid of your position and save money?
posted by jason's_planet on Jun 25, 2006 - 43 comments

You load 16 tons, what do you get?

U.S. workers will leave an average 4 vacation days on the table this year, one more than last year, according to the 6th annual Vacation Deprivation Survey sponsored by Expedia. This despite the fact that at an average of 14 days total, we are already deprived, trailing Australia (17), Canada (19), Great Britain (24), Germany (27), and France (39) in holiday time. Why don't we get more time off? And why aren't we using the time we do get? [Full results (PDF))]
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 5, 2006 - 89 comments

It's still the 60's here!

From colorful Eugene, Oregon, comes the new independent film HIPPIES about a group of folks who have not given up their values or their vices, and set about saving the earth. Trailer here. (Note release date.)

Of course, the Oregon Country Fair is still going strong and weird
(minor muddy boobage in last link)
posted by Danf on Apr 26, 2006 - 26 comments

How much does your lawyer get paid?

Lawyers appear to missing out on the growth of the leisure class. Despite American's growing leisure time, and despite another round of pay increases for starting associates, lawyers seem to be working more hours than ever. As long as lawyers are tied the billable hour, it seems that greater salaries for associates inevitably means longer hours for associates. Law professor Pat Schiltz argues [pdf] that the longer hours for new associates combined with the high pressures of law practice means that those lawyers often suffer from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide at very high rates, and are often forced into unethical practices just to meet the requirements of the law firm.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Feb 13, 2006 - 86 comments

Lazy Like Me

Quitting The Paint Factory. Are you feeling overworked? Do you feel like you need more free time? In this essay from the November 2004 issue of Harper's Magazine, Mark Slouka argues that idleness is both a virtue, a health benefit and a requisite for a fully-formed personality. Keep it in mind the next time you feel guilty for doing "nothing" on your time off.
posted by The Card Cheat on Dec 10, 2004 - 62 comments

Thorstein Veblen: Economist and Social Commentator

Thorstein Veblen, Economist and Social Commentator, who contributed to the common tongue the phrase conspicuous consumption.

Who was Thorstein Veblen--and why should anyone care?

I should like him for his writing style alone:

The appreciation of those evidences of honorific crudeness to which hand-wrought goods owe their superior worth and charm in the eyes of well-bred people is a matter of nice discrimination. It requires training and the formation of right habits of thought with respect to what may be called the physiognomy of goods. Machine-made goods of daily use are often admired and preferred precisely on account of their excessive perfection by the vulgar and the underbred who have not given due thought to the punctilios of elegant consumption. The ceremonial inferiority of machine products goes to show that the perfection of skill and workmanship embodied in any costly innovations in the finish of goods is not sufficient of itself to secure them acceptance and permanent favor. The innovation must have the support of the canon of conspicuous waste. Any feature in the physiognomy of goods, however pleasing in itself, and however well it may approve itself to the taste for effective work, will not be tolerated if it proves obnoxious to this norm of pecuniary reputability.

From Chapter Six - Pecuniary Canons of Taste of the work entire, The Theory of The Leisure Class. Feel free to consume conspicuously.
posted by y2karl on Oct 29, 2002 - 7 comments

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