Look, I’m not in any way saying the world was somehow better back before there were a gajillion super hero shows coming out every second and I could buy legal weed. As far as I’m concerned history can be divided into periods of pre delay pedal and post delay pedal, with the pre delay pedal portion being mostly worthless. What I will say is that not only did the huge corporation I work for not give a single dime of its ginormous tax break to its employees, they actually just restructured our bonus system to make it slightly harder for us to get them. Another way of putting that would be, they got a huge gift of free cash from the government, then found an unbelievably sneaky way of actually paying their employees less. There has never been a time where I can use the phrase “I wish I was making this up” in a more accurate context. And no, they are not struggling in any way, stock is nearing an all time high.
So with all our amazing advancements in artistic mindfuckery, maybe cultures from several hundred years ago were onto something with the not working all the goddamn time thing. Here’s a crazy ass theory, maybe, just maybe, us working all the goddamn time is the exact thing that’s destroying the environment AND driving us insane. Again, maybe. Don’t want to get too crazy here. (From Business Insider):
“Life for the medieval peasant was certainly no picnic. His life was shadowed by fear of famine, disease and bursts of warfare. His diet and personal hygiene left much to be desired.
But despite his reputation as a miserable wretch, you might envy him one thing: his vacations.
Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off.
The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes, and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment. There were labor-free Sundays, and when the plowing and harvesting seasons were over, the peasant got time to rest, too.
In fact, economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year. As for the modern American worker? After a year on the job, she gets an average of eight vacation days annually.
A history of dwindling vacation days
It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way: John Maynard Keynes, one of the founders of modern economics, made a famous prediction that by 2030, advanced societies would be wealthy enough that leisure time, rather than work, would characterize national lifestyles. So far, that forecast is not looking good.
What happened? Some cite the victory of the modern eight-hour a day, 40-hour workweek over the punishing 70 or 80 hours a 19th century worker spent toiling as proof that we’re moving in the right direction.
But Americans have long since kissed the 40-hour workweek goodbye, and Shor’s examination of work patterns reveals that the 19th century was an aberration in the history of human labor. When workers fought for the eight-hour workday, they weren’t trying to get something radical and new, but rather to restore what their ancestors had enjoyed before industrial capitalists and the electric light bulb came on the scene.”