The Future of Leisure


Leisure is a serious business.

The failure to educate for leisure is not just a lost opportunity; it also poses dangers, especially if large-scale job losses really are in the offing. The suggestion that “idle hands are the devil’s playthings” is a moralism long uttered by the idle wealthy to impose work requirements on the poor. Still, it is not always false. As the sociologist Norbert Elias once noted, soccer hooliganism and similar forms of mob violence may stem from a “deprivation of meaning” in the lives of the under- or unemployed. The same could be said for those now succumbing to “deaths of despair” from alcoholism, drug overdoses, or suicide.

The complete article

Stuart Whatley — Democracy

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The Free-Time Paradox in America


Fact – “In 2015, 22 percent of lower-skilled men [those without a college degree] aged 21 to 30 had not worked at all during the prior twelve months”

It is a relief to know that one can be poor, young, and unemployed, and yet fairly content with life; indeed, one of the hallmarks of a decent society is that it can make even poverty bearable. But the long-term prospects of these men may be even bleaker than their present. As Hurst and others have emphasized, these young men have disconnected from both the labor market and the dating pool. They are on track to grow up without spouses, families, or a work history. They may grow up to be rudderless middle-aged men, hovering around the poverty line, trapped in the narcotic undertow of cheap entertainment while the labor market fails to present them with adequate working opportunities.

But when I tweeted Hurst’s speech this week, many people had a surprising and different take: That it was sad to think that a life of leisure should be so scary in the first place. After all, this was the future today’s workers were promised—a paradise of downtime for rich and poor, alike.

The complete article

Derek Thompson — The Atlantic

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