I do love Lenin in the morning

He\’s just so wonderful, calling out the masses to strike, to agitate, to demand:

To that Kaleckian lesson, however, we want to add a Gorzian one, especially in the United States: take productivity gains more in the form of gains in disposable time than in the form of more consumption. That\’s our socialist ticket out of crisis, economic and environmental.

It\’s almost as if he doesn\’t know what it is that the hyper capitalism of the US already does:

In this paper, we use five decades of time?use surveys to document trends in the allocation of
time. We document that a dramatic increase in leisure time lies behind the relatively stable
number of market hours worked (per working?age adult) between 1965 and 2003. Specifically,
we document that leisure for men increased by 6?8 hours per week (driven by a decline in
market work hours) and for women by 4?8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home
production work hours). This increase in leisure corresponds to roughly an additional 5 to 10
weeks of vacation per year, assuming a 40?hour work week.

But then that\’s our Lenin. The proletariat should strike, agitate, demand, struggle for, what they\’re already getting.

Presumably with Lenin at the head of said struggle.

Guess he\’s finally picked a battle that he can win at least.

7 thoughts on “I do love Lenin in the morning”

  1. “Minimum transitional demands: retirement at 50 with full benefits; free education and social wages for students (all the way up to doctoral degrees for those who want them); paid parental leaves (six years for each new child); two months of paid vacations per year at minimum; indefinite unemployment benefits (to last till the ruling classes come up with worthy jobs at worthy wages for the unemployed).”

    Un-effing-believable. Only transitional demands, where do they want to end up? Any chance that someone might want to cost these demands?

    “six years for each new child” to run concurrently or consecutively?

    Rather than have two months paid leave and retirement at 50, let’s just give the mooching, idle bastards 12 months leave from leaving school but they must fund it themselves. Tossers.

  2. There’s an interesting issue that’s being glossed over here. Yes, leisure time has fallen, but not very much.
    For example, for all individuals, time spent in total market work fell by 3.6% between 1965 and 2003.
    But if all the productivity gain during this time (222% for the business sector) had led to less work, people would be working an average of 15.4 hours a week, rather than the 33 hours they actually worked.
    The vast majority of productivity gains, then, have led to higher average incomes, rather than more leisure time. The interesting question is: why has this been so?

    Tim adds: Indeed this is the interesting point. But first we have to acknowledge that “total working hours” have fallen by much more than “market working hours” so it appears that people would rather substitute leisure for household hours than market hours. An alternative explanation is that they can do that, the social norms around market hours being stronger.

    But we do get a hint of why Keynes and his grandkiddies thing was wrong….he didn’t even consider household hours.

  3. Just a quick note, but it was Yoshie who wrote that piece, an shill for Ahmadinejad who is inexplicable allowed to blog at lenin’s tomb.

    Leisure hours do seem harder to negotiate than pay increases despite more or less being the same thing. Look at leisure in europe, where it is statutorily guaranteed and in the us, where it is not.

    Tim adds: err, yes, about leisure. You do know that the average US woman has more leisure than the average German woman don’t you? Good, you do know about reality?

    Excellent, so, statutory guarantees are worth what then?

  4. Tim – I think the fall in non-market working hours just reflects technical change – the introduction of the dishwasher, fast food and such like. These same things have contributed to increases in the divorce rate:

    Tim adds: OK….but increasing productivity of labour is equally simply technical change.

  5. Funnily enough, in NZ, where until recent years 3 weeks annual leave was the minimum, employers would offer 4 as a staff recruitment tool. (The legal minimum was then raised to 4 weeks, and I moved overseas for probably unrelated reasons, I don’t know if companies have shifted to 5 weeks).

    The US seems to be odd about its lack of holidays.

  6. DocBud, I don’t understand your complaint. Clearly we all just need to get a doctorate, have 4 or 5 kids, then retire at 50 never having worked. We’ll all be rich!

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