So Deborah Orr tells us all about how her mother worked her fingers to the bone running the household, how poverty meant she never had, despite father working 6 days a week, store bought clothes or a takeaway. And she doesn’t have to do that, no one does these days in fact. Then:
Yet, despite all these profound and fundamental changes, the definition of what is “full-time” work and what is “part-time” work hasn’t altered. Red Pepper magazine points out that “Keynes thought that by the 21st century we would all be working about eight hours a week and getting paid liveable wages for it. The history of human progress up until fairly recently has been people working less and less, and having more time to actually live and enjoy life. The triumph of neoliberal doctrine has reversed this – and to the benefit of nobody.”
And what is “neo-liberal doctrine” anyway? Essentially it’s that people should be paid as little or as much as the market can bear, without social intervention of any kind. That’s it. That’s what human life should be all about, according to the dominant ideology of the age. Then we wonder why social problems are so endemic. People don’t exercise enough. People don’t cook enough. People don’t spend enough time with their children. People don’t read enough, to themselves or their kids. People don’t volunteer enough. It’s hard to look after the elderly. People drink too much. People watch too much TV. Why? Because people are at work, and if they’re not at work, then that’s the biggest of all the problems. The way we live our lives needs fundamental restructuring. Time is precious. But you wouldn’t think so, not at all, not from looking at the average earnings people get for spending precious time at work.
How damn stupid do you have to be to believe both parts of that argument?
As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, it’s those household production hours that have declined, in a manner that Keynes didn’t predict, leaving us all, both men and women, with vastly more leisure time. She actually points this out in the first part of the piece then entirely ignores it at the end. This is just so damn stupid.