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Why do we work so much?

  1. Rod Rainey profile image83
    Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago

    http://s4.hubimg.com/u/8352327_f520.jpg
    Anthropologists largely agree that pre-colonized, nature based cultures only work an average of four hours a day.

    Societies located where winters were harsh did little more than stay warm and make babies in the winter.

    History has shown that medieval peasants enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off from working.

    Economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the 20th century technology would be so advanced that the people of developed countries would only have to work 15 hours a week and by the year 2030 humanity would barely have to work at all.

    Buckminster Fuller said,
      “We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

    Study after study has shown that overworking reduces productivity.

    US Congress gets 239 vacation days this year.

    So what’s our problem? Why do we work so much?

    http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2 … -than-you/
    http://www.strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/
    http://deoxy.org/endwork.htm
    http://accounting.smartpros.com/x43420.xml
    http://www.lostgarden.com/2008/09/rules … ation.html
    http://www.policymic.com/articles/38177 … f-congress

    1. gmwilliams profile image85
      gmwilliamsposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Did a similar post on Paradism.  Paradism is the concept when in future societies, technology has advanced so much that humankind no longer need to work.  Also with the concept of Paradism, money as we know it will no longer exist.   But in the interim, humankind work for many reasons: many people work for pure socioeconomic survival.   Such people must work in order to feed and support their families, no more no less.

      Then there are people who work because they have a need to be useful to society.  They feel that work is a must in their lives.  If they do not work, they do not feel useful nor contributing.   They see that the mark of an authentic human being is to work and contribute to society.   There are people who are self-actualized who believe that work is a vocation and a calling, they feel that they were placed upon earth and in a certain vocation to express themselves and make their voices heard.  The meaning and core of their existence is to find work that they are intensely passionate about.

      Then there are predatory people who view work as a source of power, gamesmanship. and upmanship.  To them, work is a game in which the rule is the survival of the fittest.  To such people, work is an exercise of power and game.  They see another employees as those to be manipulated and used to suit the former's means and ends.   These people intend to win and other employees are just a pawn in their game.  Those predatory people who are in powerful positions also see work as a game but more so than the predatory employee.   To the predatory boss, everyone is THEIR pawn to do with as he/she pleases as long as HE/SHE is ON TOP.
      http://s2.hubimg.com/u/8215833_f248.jpg

      1. Rod Rainey profile image83
        Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Technology has already advanced to the point that many mindless jobs, jobs that no one really wants to do anyway could be automated.  Who’s passionate about flipping burgers, cleaning toilets or tipping trash cans? Problem is who will take care of the people who would normally do these jobs?

        Well, humanities natural means to care for its self has mostly been erased from the planet.   I've been reading "Restoration Agriculture" by Mark Sheppard which denounces the cultivation of annuals for our staple food crops because it facilitates wind and water erosion, destroys bio-diversity, it's vulnerable to pests and diseases which calls for the use of dangerous chemicals and it's labor intensive and costly.
        He talks about how most of the planet was abundant with natural, self perpetuating, edible perennials before the rise of annual cultivation and civilization and how it could be that way again with our help and the use of permaculture.  Patches of desert devoid of life for millennia have recently been transformed into plentiful oases. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goBB4fVLRxc   If it could be done there, it could be done anywhere.  These systems supported enormous herds of mega fauna that ate things we could be eating.  Permaculture also abounds with benefits for our planet, but I don’t want to stray too far off topic.

        So, one way to be sure unemployed people can take care of themselves would be to restore their natural means to do so.  People should be allowed to live wild if they want to. Perhaps those people who are working for pure socioeconomic survival aren’t cut out for society as we know it. Why should they be forced to participate in it? I think also that freeing people from the rat race would prompt more people to pursue ways to make positive contributions and follow their true passions.  This might also limit the destructive capacity of those predatory workers.  Just some thoughts.

        According to a recent Gallup poll, a whopping 70% of Americans hate their jobs.  70% of Americans miserable for 40 plus hours a week!   http://www.latimes.com/business/money/l … 8658.story Then we have the unemployed in a scarce job market who must resort to some sort of assistance or crime just to make ends meet.  It’s ridiculous! We could do better.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          People can live wild nearly anywhere they want to.  All we ask is that they do not destroy plants, animals or the land belonging to the people of the nation as a whole.

          The problem is that living wild, without the modern conveniences that make food gathering so efficient, requires very large tracts of land.  Fertile, watered, land that is relatively scarce.

          1. Rod Rainey profile image83
            Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Indeed, Mr. Wilderness immense tracts of land would have to be reclaimed somehow, but it wouldn’t necessarily have to be fertile or wet as the video I posted above shows.  The southern part of the Dead Sea region receives less than 2 inches of rain a year; they used no outside water sources, they just caught every drop of rain that fell on the lot. Are you familiar with berms and swales?  http://www.minneola.us/npdes/swale.pdf or hugelkultur?  http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

            From what I’ve seen, living wild is only legal if you don’t get caught. Unless you move to Slab City, California http://www.thedailysheeple.com/living-w … usa_072013
             
            Homeless camps are “evacuated” and destroyed all the time.  Cities are criminalizing the homeless and blocking people that want to help them.  http://rodrainey.hubpages.com/question/ … iminalized or http://buffalogal1960.hubpages.com/hub/ … a-Gone-Mad

            Also, virgin forests and savannas that would sustain people naturally are mostly gone; sure we have a lot of parks and green spaces, but most are far from what they once were and far from ideal to sustain humans in their current state.    Furthermore, the skills needed to live wild have largely slipped away leaving folks to beg or steal.

      2. Josak profile image60
        Josakposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Why do we work so hard and so long...

        Well two main reasons, 1) a sick obsession with consumerism that so many in the western world have picked up (mainly due to it being pushed through advertising by those who profit from it) a system that demands constant spending on unnecessary trivialities.

        2) Most of what mot people produce gets taken from them, partially by taxes (though these at least theoretically contribute to their lives) mainly by the profit margin of their employer or distributor.

  2. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    I don't know how many hours a day subsistence people "worked" but I know they often didn't live very long and many children never survived infancy.  So on balance I will take a longer work day which I spend doing a job that helps other people and that I enjoy.

    1. John Holden profile image60
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Life expectancy dropped considerably with the industrial revolution.

      It's not for nothing that the bible stated that a man's span was three score years and ten.

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        There are subsistence communities right now, and infant mortality is high as it death from climactic extremes and other events modern life and large communities insulate us against.

        IMHO I will stay here in modern suburbia.  The alternative is available to anyone who want to pursue it.

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          You are making the rash assumption that pre industrial communities were subsistence communities!
          Some were, just as some post industrial communities are subsistence communities but not all were..

          1. psycheskinner profile image81
            psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I suggest you read what I said again.  Especially the first sentence. My point was exactly the same as yours.  Subsistence living is available right now.  If people want to do that, they can.

            1. John Holden profile image60
              John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Yes, I read your post before I replied to it and again just now. I can't escape your implication that pre industrial communities were subsistence communities.

              1. psycheskinner profile image81
                psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                That implication is not present in what I said. I was making the exact opposite point.

                1. John Holden profile image60
                  John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  "There are subsistence communities right now, and infant mortality is high as it death from climactic extremes and other events modern life and large communities insulate us against.

                  IMHO I will stay here in modern suburbia.  The alternative is available to anyone who want to pursue it."


                  I'm afraid however many times I read that I cannot escape the implication that pre industrial communities were subsistence communities.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    Depending on your definition, they mostly were.  After all, few homes had a 2 car garage attached. smile

                    A tribe living in straw huts, gathering wood for heat and without sanitary facilities is subsistence whether they worked 4 hours a day to maintain what they had or 16.  Even the great Rome was barely able to survive it's needs for water and sanitation and that was done through slavery (of course, the nobility had more even while doing less).

      2. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        With a life expectancy in medieval Britain of 30 years, that's a little hard to swallow.  I classical Rome it was slightly worse, at 28.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Life expectancy at the start of the Industrial Revolution had dropped considerably below 30 years.

          And, you need to define your starting point for life expectancy. If at birth it doesn't preclude survivors from a long and healthy life.

        2. Rod Rainey profile image83
          Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I fail to see how longer life expectancy can be directly attributed to the increase in working hours.  In fact the opposite is true. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co … 01630.html
            Wouldn’t longer life expectancy be the result of education and advances in medicine and technology?  The primary cause of death for most adults in the pre-colonized world, according to anthropologists, was injury and infections.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/opini … ?_r=1&  Modern medicine doesn’t have to go away if people aren’t forced to work, does it?

  3. 83
    Education Answerposted 3 years ago

    Why do we work so hard? 


    There's a fairly famous saying:

    Work harder!  Millions of people on welfare are depending on you!

    1. John Holden profile image60
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I see that you are totally missing the point of this thread as well!

    2. gmwilliams profile image85
      gmwilliamsposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Totally agree, I am with you on this premise.  Not only do we work hard so that those on welfare DON'T have to, THOSE FAMILY freeloaders and moochers NEVER HAVE to EVER work because WE carry THEM!
      http://s2.hubimg.com/u/8360841_f248.jpg

  4. innersmiff profile image80
    innersmiffposted 3 years ago

    I don't really have a problem with the notion, but, I mean . . . eventually. One day technology will be so advanced as to automate pretty much everything, but I really am talking centuries. As technology advances, low-skill jobs that the robots have taken up are replaced with robot-building/designing/maintaining/organising jobs, as in order to appreciate the benefits of it people need to provide worth to others to pay for it. These young people that question the need to work for a living need to tell us how this is going to happen, otherwise I have no problem with them just going into the forest and living the natural life.

    I attribute our current working hours to a mixture of things. Economic growth over the past 2 centuries has allowed us to work more hours, as maintaining the home and family has become easier. Public schooling relieves responsibility from the parents. And simply, we are a workaholic culture. Please bear in mind that the average person in the medieval times was living in unspeakable poverty

    1. John Holden profile image60
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this



      Prove it!

      1. innersmiff profile image80
        innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Poverty statistics as we demand them today were not recorded, but look at the high infant-mortality rate, the damage and frequency of famine, the spread of disease. By our current standards that would be considered poverty.

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Exactly. Why try and pin modern definitions of poverty on people who by their own standards and the standards of the day were not poverty stricken?

          1. innersmiff profile image80
            innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Because the whole point of the thread is comparing people's working hours of today and in different periods of history.

            1. John Holden profile image60
              John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Yes, and confounding it with spurious arguments like "everybody lived in straw huts"  and "didn't have double garages".

              If people were well fed warm and dry, that is the only point of comparison that is applicable, and by and large they were.
              Some did live in abject poverty, just as with the much much longer working hours of the 21st century some still do.

              1. innersmiff profile image80
                innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                I don't see why being well fed, warm and dry has to be the limit when talking about standard of life. What about cleanliness, sanitation, access to healthcare? In that regard we are better off today by leaps and bounds.

                Are you actually arguing that humanity has made no progress since the medieval times?

    2. Rod Rainey profile image83
      Rod Raineyposted 2 years ago in reply to this
  5. maxoxam41 profile image79
    maxoxam41posted 3 years ago

    Consumerism.

  6. Kathryn L Hill profile image83
    Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago

    How can America become more free?

    1. Rod Rainey profile image83
      Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Well, for starters, Americans (and Earthlings) could and should be free to have the necessities of life like food, water and shelter without a price tag and without shame or stigma.  I would personally add health care and education to this list, but we’ll just start with the essentials.  People need to understand that nature provided its inhabitants with food, water and shelter before the rise of civilization.  The modern world never had the right to seize them and hold them for ransom. The rat race is not natural, no one asked to be born into it so why should anyone be forced or coerced into participating in it simply to survive?  To put it another way, no one expects everyone to be an accomplished athlete or an artist or a musician or a good cook or even a good parent, etc., etc., but society does expect everyone to make and manage money or depend on someone who does just to survive.  How does this make any sense? 

      I could go on and on and on about other ways America could and should be freer, but these are the most crucial.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        As there is a price tag for everything, from a bubble gum ball to a mansion, you might want to speak to God about making the necessities free, without a price tag.  And in spite of what you say, there has always been a price tag - our caveman ancestors, living in those "natural" shelters provided by God, still had to defend them.  They still had to gather food, including stalking and killing of such animals as a wooly mammoth, and carry water to the home.  The price wasn't money, but I assure you there was a price to be paid, and one that is far higher than we pay today in the "rat race".

        So talk to God about the necessities, and then when He is delivering everything we need to sustain life for free you can talk to Him again about some nice luxuries (I presume from your post that you would not stop at necessities).

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Defend their shelters against who?

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            A sabre tooth tiger, maybe.  A bear come fall.  Or another village that wants it.  TANSTAAFL, and that includes nice warm, dry caves.

            1. John Holden profile image60
              John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Shakes head in disbelief!

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Be careful there, John - it might fall off!

                It's a shock, isn't it?  That man has to work for what he wants, whether necessity for life or luxury?  And that if his work is unsatisfactory, he will die.

                It's true, though - nothing in life is free.

                1. gmwilliams profile image85
                  gmwilliamsposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  Totally agree, nothing in life is free.  Well, nothing worthwhile.  Mature grown ups know and realize this premise.  No one owes anyone a thing in life.  If one wants something in life, it has to be earned.  The owe me mentality is the reason many welfare and social programs have gone completely awry.  People at this stage of the game have to work to supply a decent and above standard of living for themselves and for their families.  People who elect not to work oftentimes have a very substandard living.  Even those who work are a couple of paychecks away from homelessness.  One must work to live as a human period.

                  1. Rod Rainey profile image83
                    Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    To an extent I agree, but I said nothing about not working at all. The question was, "why so much?"

                2. John Holden profile image60
                  John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  No, I shake my head in disbelief because you seem to have taken in all your history from Hollywood films.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    What, you think Mr. Caveman lay back on his sofa while the sabre-tooth popped food in his mouth as if he were a Roman aristocrat in the movies?

                    True thing, John - from cavemen on man has had to work to feed himself.  There were very, very few exceptions and even then somebody did the work. We're a long way from the Garden of Eden.

                3. Kathryn L Hill profile image83
                  Kathryn L Hillposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  - the price of effort is high for some.

        2. Rod Rainey profile image83
          Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Ah, but these were prices humanity was naturally suited for or “designed” to pay, were they not?

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I guess so, if you feel that humanity was suited or designed to die while pushing mammoths of a cliff so the community could eat tomorrow. 

            Or walk through a field of plants, looking for tubers to eat (think migrant workers on the farm, here).

            Or spend hours chipping a flint knife so he could skin an animal to stay warm come winter.  Much like factory work today, I'd guess.

            Is there much of anything humanity was not naturally suited to do?  They are the worlds premier generalists, after all.

            1. Rod Rainey profile image83
              Rod Raineyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Well, apparently we're not all suited for the way things are.

 
working