Thursday, January 12, 2017

Overworked Americans and a Sports Hot Take

Friends! Countrymen. I am wiped. I work as a legal secretary and there are days that I work relentlessly from the minute I sit down until I leave, which is frequently many hours after I'm supposed to, getting up only to run to the printer, scarfing down lunch if I can but sometimes skipping that, etc., etc.  It's a familiar story.

Now, from one point of view, I should shut my lazy trap and accept that the hardest working, smartest people prosper. Sure, true! On the other hand, there is more to life than work.  And much of the fixation with working yourself to death may, in fact, be delusional - more about status than actual productivity.

The French - who live three years longer than us on the average - do not put up with being worked to death.  The reason they are able to secure as much freedom from work as they do is because they are good at collective action:

The reversal can be traced to union and collective-bargaining contracts, says Bruce Sacerdote, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College who has studied workplace trends in the U.S. and in European countries. As unemployment rose in France in the 1970s, French unions responded to the economic trouble in a way that was very different from the response to slowing growth in the U.S.: they advocated a policy of work sharing, in which individual workers’ hours would be reduced in response to the increasing number of people without jobs. Using catchphrases like “work less, work all,” they argued that society would benefit if the same amount of work could be done by a greater number of workers, with each working less.

These attractive policies caused the unions to become stronger and represent more workers. Eventually, they secured valuable time off — which, by the time the economic downturn had passed, had become the status quo in France. Once workers were given several weeks off in August, for instance, they understandably didn’t want to later give up that prized vacation time.

The article I linked to above is quite short, and well worth your time.  

Anyways, the point is, I am sufficiently overworked that I don't have time to delve into the many issues I'd like to touch on and that some of you have asked to touch on - the energy grid! our budget! how Obama looks in retrospect!  Further, I am going out of town tomorrow for three days.

So instead, I'm just going to lazily leave you with this "hot take" by Alex PareeneSan Diego is losing its football team because its owner thinks he can make more dough in Los Angeles.  Football's just a game, so who cares, sure, whatever.  But I bet those people are bummed as hell.  As a Jets fan I'd love it if the people of Queens, where the team was originally based, would riot until Woody Johnson was forced to rescind control of the team somehow.  It'll never happen, but it's a nice fantasy.  There's really no better symbol of the undeserving rich man than the professional sports team owner, is there?

I'll see you guys and gals all next week!  Have a great Martin Luther King Jr. Day and never forget, though his image is often misused, MLK was not a soft man.  I'm a big fan of MLK and also LBJ and I thoroughly recommend this book if you want to take a stroll down collective memory lane.  It is not the only lane of memory you should stroll down!  But it is one worth taking.

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