The decline of leisure in america - technology, work, etc.

Xochi Zen (
21 Aug 1995 20:56:34 -0500

I'm looking for references of books that are critical of technology -
books that ask the question (and others like it), "Are we happier now than
we were, say, in the late 1800's/early 1900's?" - say, have the "labor
saving" devices that came into vogue in the 1950's actually given housewives
_more_ work to do (in that housewives were brainwashed into conforming with
some new, neurotic standard of cleanliness).

The only book I know of which discusses these matters is Neil
Postman's _Technopoly_, and I have grave disagreements w/some of Postman's
conclusions and inferences. Nevertheless, it's an easy read and is well
worth looking into and reflecting upon.

[ correction: just discovered a book entitled, "The Overworked
American: the decline of leisure in america" by J. Schor - a Harvard
economist ]

Also looking for books that deal with the question, "Why have
Americans bent over and accepted salary-exempt jobs with little to no
leisure time?" It seems that the puritan work ethic has gone beserk - so
much so that our families are falling apart because we no longer have time
to spend with them. It's ironic that Republicans tout family values while
at the same time they rail against maternity leave, etc. etc.

Taking work home with one is now a socially accepted thing to do -
even to the point of having to do so every night and on weekends. Where are
our priorities? Then again, part of the problem may be that we're so damn
greedy - we need bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger TVs (kill your television
and read more often) and other luxury items. But do we really _need_ these
things? Is it worth it to have damn near no real leisure time?

I think the europeans in general have it right: at least in france
and germany, I think citizens of these countries get a mandatory 4-5 weeks
off per year right from the start.

Well, I'm not quite looking for discussion here... mostly looking
for book recommendations. The Internet itself can be like brain-rotting TV
at times... in that it might get in the way of reading books. Gotta split.

Pyrrhonically yrs,


P.S. Please reply via private e-mail, or at least cc: me a copy if
you respond publically. Thanks!

| Xochi Zen "William James used to preach the 'will to believe.' For |
| my part, I should wish to preach the 'will to doubt.' ... |
| What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to|
| find out, which is the exact opposite" - Bertrand Russell |