Monday, July 12, 2010

Benefits of Slowing Down?

Here's an interesting blog post on the website New American Dream. The post is titled Solving Unemployment through New Uses of Time, and is written by Julie Schor who is the Co-Chair and Author of the new book Plenitude: the new economics of true wealth. Here's the part of the article I think is interesting:

The core insight of my model is the need to transform how people spend their time. Its first principle is to reverse the increase in time devoted to the market that has occurred in recent decades. (The US, most of the global South and some OECD countries have experienced rising hours.) In the US, annual hours of work rose more than 200 from 1973 to 2006. Longer hours raise the ecological footprint, both because of more production, and because time-stressed households have higher-impact lifestyles. Getting to sustainability will require slowing down the pace of life, which means working less.

Shorter hours are also key to solving the unemployment crisis. In the US, it will require 11 million new jobs to return to pre-crash levels. That breaks down to 500,000 new jobs a month for almost two years. That’s an unrealistic number, unless we address hours of work. In comparison to Western European countries, where hours are much shorter, the U.S. has to generate between 6 and 20% more in Gross Domestic Production to create each new job.

and I especially like this part:

Declining hours could re-balance the labor market and free up time for people to engage in low-impact, self-providing activities that reduce their dependence on the market. These include growing food, generating energy, building housing, and making small-scale manufactured goods, such as apparel and household items.

The book Plenitude was also featured in MPR's midmorning show with Kerri Miller that I posted about earlier.

I'll have to add Plenitude to my list of must-reads! Of course it's one opinion and one argument but it's something new to think about. I like the idea of having more time to do things like learn how to garden, can, sew, and cook more homemade meals, etc! It would require a lifestyle change but it might have positive results for everyone :)

1 comment:

  1. Nice work, Ashley! I think you & Grant are on the way to good things...that garden is a real start!


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