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I note that one significant factor has been omitted from this conversation to this point.  The diary has discussed labor, production and distribution of goods and the realms of work and leisure.  What has not really been discussed is the distribution of the wealth that is and has been created.  I do not think that this is entirely accidental.  It seems to me that the very construction of our culture, especially in the USA, tends to make the distribution of wealth, if not taboo, at least awkward.

In fact the distribution of wealth has very much to do with the distribution of leisure.  Those of independent means and significant accumulated wealth at least have the choice of how much of their waking hours to devote to work.  The better off of the employed have some choice of how much of their time to devote to work.  They must fend off the mind numbing demands of popular culture in order to really relax, but it can be done.  The quality of our lives very much depends on the extent to which we can actually engage in recreation.  Specifically RE-CREATION of our interior mental spaces and interpersonal relationships into forms more satisfying.  

But people on the bottom of the employment pay scale have no choice.  Many must work virtually to exhaustion to just survive.  This is degrading and almost certainly life shortening.  The ability to deal with this problem of insufficient leisure time is within our collective ability to solve, but it is hidden from us in plain sight by the norms of our culture.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 12:33:41 AM EST
I've written about wealth (re)distribution on other occasions, here's the most popular essay on this subject from web site:

Wealth Distribution

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:41:32 AM EST
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It IS a subject that has been mentioned frequently on ET in the context of the extent to which Neo-Classical Economic policies since 1980 have succeeded in returning the USA to wealth demographics last seen in the '20s and the baleful effects that has had on our politics and economics.  What struck me was the previous absence of that factor in this discussion of the decline of leisure.

The thought arose after I viewed the video of the Google lecture by Dr. David Levy, particularly the distinction between ratio and intellectus as described by Pieper and the extent to which contemporary society has tilted the field towards ratio. It recalled to mind grade school teachers strictures about "daydreaming" and about the enforcement of similar views in the workplace, especially on lower ranking workers by production managers.  I was an engineer and could always claim to be "thinking", which was what I was paid to do, even if I was often not thinking about work related issues.

"I've always been a dreamer," as the song says.  In my youth I discovered how answers could come to mind when I was in the appropriate "mood."  I just didn't know that I was being "intellectual."  Had I not found employment in areas which allowed and even required access to this mental state my life would have been far more miserable than it has been.  Others have not been so lucky.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 11:08:01 AM EST
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