OPINION

The legend of leisure

Free time appears to have vanished from modern life, along with all the other «historic achievements» of swift economic development, such as quality of life, multiple gains – weren’t these the results of an unprecedented rise in productivity? And our free time has become an accordion, which opens and contracts again according to economic developments. In order to overcome our poverty (not the ostensible poverty of part-time workers – which exists only in the USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden), we need to supplement our meager Greek full-time salary – which is not enough to cover our European expenses – with the proceeds of a second or even third job. As a result, we don’t have time to see our families, we don’t go to the cinema; we’re happy if we can just limit our work week to 60 working days (and to think that some people struggled in the 48-hour week in 1932 and the 40-hour week in 1984.) There is no cultural, social, even family «leisure» to speak of – just paralysis. And in this numbed state, we forget that fewer work hours always symbolized a fairer distribution of wealth for workers (a reduction in work hours without a drop in salary is essentially a pay rise). But when did life become so one-dimensional? Work, work, work… even our social life has become a part of our work. But then some people find they can unwind at work. A rewarding job does have its good points…