NEWS

Balancing free time and work

– Is a politician’s life private or public? With the exception of Protestant countries, where puritanism ensured that private lives were on view to the advantage of the public, in the rest of our urban civilization the separation of the public from the private sphere is considered sacred. Only our image-centered society has managed to turn private vices into public virtues and vice versa in order to boost competitiveness for its products. It has exploited the absence of the neighborhood which traditionally played the role of exposing the private lives of citizens and ensuring their moral submission. With a general crisis arising in political values, private and public images have become mixed and the features of a post-war ideology have been assumed. The vice of lifestyle has become a public virtue. This development can be particularly harmful in that it obliges politicians to take on roles that have nothing to do with their office or tradition. Worse still, personal ethics, even when these can satisfy certain tastes, are not enough to resolve more severe political problems. – One job and free time or two jobs and a better quality of life? The question here is what is considered to be a «better quality of life»? Some maintain that free time is the main criterion for quality of life. Such a view is not compatible with a busy lifestyle. Others consider that purchasing power, and therefore income, is the main criterion for achieving quality living conditions. Which of these two stances should someone adopt and why? Both, however, are based on cultural, ideological, social, economic and psychological perceptions and admissions that are in constant flux. Hence the criteria themselves change, in turn affecting the choice an individual might make. Of course, people who are engaged in one occupation and are unable to meet their everyday requirements are not faced with this dilemma. Unfortunately, today the latter constitutes a rather large group. Giorgos Sefertzis – political scientist and analyst