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working vs. not
Old 07-16-2011, 12:47 PM   #1
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working vs. not

I'm not sure this is political as much as social, but while reading the "too young to retire" thread, it came to mind again "Walden Two" (was that the name of the book I'm thinking of?) and the idea that as mechanization made work easier, people would not need to work as much. Ha! What is now here is a society in which the majority of people work jobs at a pace that is killing them, while at the same time a significant section of the population has no work at all. I understand that this gives benefits to investors (of which I am of course one) but seems to be a malignancy in society. Go into virtually any workplace, and you will see so many pale, unhappy looking people dragging themselves through work that, if they weren't doing it 70 hours each week, they might actually like.
The specter of medical care hangs over all of this--people could work less, with the work more equitably apportioned, if they weren't required to work like dogs to have medical care at all. For this, I have to say that the failure of the single-payer option seems tragic.
Okay, so shoot me, I'm a liberal.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:03 PM   #2
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Yes:
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Walden Two is a science fiction[1][2] novel written by behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner and first published in 1948.
Walden Two - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by palomalou View Post
I'm not sure this is political as much as social, but while reading the "too young to retire" thread, it came to mind again "Walden Two" (was that the name of the book I'm thinking of?) and the idea that as mechanization made work easier, people would not need to work as much. Ha! What is now here is a society in which the majority of people work jobs at a pace that is killing them, while at the same time a significant section of the population has no work at all. I understand that this gives benefits to investors (of which I am of course one) but seems to be a malignancy in society. Go into virtually any workplace, and you will see so many pale, unhappy looking people dragging themselves through work that, if they weren't doing it 70 hours each week, they might actually like.
The specter of medical care hangs over all of this--people could work less, with the work more equitably apportioned, if they weren't required to work like dogs to have medical care at all. For this, I have to say that the failure of the single-payer option seems tragic.
Okay, so shoot me, I'm a liberal.
No need to shoot you, but I would suggest you think about actually doing something regarding the situation you're whining about. Go start a business. Or start it in retirement since you think you'll be retired in 2015. Assume the risk. Hire people and pay them well despite having low requirements for effort and hours worked. You'll then have done something about a situation you don't like and given yourself something entertaining to do.

BTW, your "70 hours each week" statement is a huge exaggeration which discredits your story.

Okay, so shoot me, I'm a pragmatist.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:16 PM   #4
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What is now here is a society in which the majority of people work jobs at a pace that is killing them, while at the same time a significant section of the population has no work at all.
You characterize the problem and give the solution, all in a single sentence. Too much work -- unemployment rises, so there is less work. Now, we need to aim for 100% unemployment (with plenty of benefits, of course, so people can live).
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:36 PM   #5
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What places do you see pale unhappy folks working 70 hours a week?

I see quite a lot of folks working 20 or 30 hours a week making 6-figure incomes. They seem happy to me. So I guess based on my experience, I can write, "The majority of people in society have great jobs where they don't have to work so hard, yet get paid well."
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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Actually, youbet, not exaggerating much at all. During the school year, I'm in my office for 11 hours on the short days (the ones where I have to stay for an evening event add a couple of more hours) during the week. During the weekend, I try to only work two half days. Sometimes I succeed. And my friends seem to work just as hard as physicians, attorneys, and the like.
But I still think I'll just retire next year. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:16 PM   #7
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Actually, youbet, not exaggerating much at all. During the school year, I'm in my office for 11 hours on the short days (the ones where I have to stay for an evening event add a couple of more hours) during the week. During the weekend, I try to only work two half days. Sometimes I succeed. And my friends seem to work just as hard as physicians, attorneys, and the like.
But I still think I'll just retire next year. Thanks for the suggestion.
I have no idea whether you personally work a steady diet of 70 hour weeks (exclusive of commute time, personal time, lunch time, etc.) and if you say you do, I take you at your word. I know a couple of entrepreneurs who did for a while, it happens from time to time.

But your post said
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Go into virtually any workplace, and you will see so many pale, unhappy looking people dragging themselves through work that, if they weren't doing it 70 hours each week, they might actually like.
I don't think Dept of Labor stats bear that out. It's an exaggeration which reduces the credibility of your argument.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:22 PM   #8
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70 Hours a week, maybe he was in the Car Biz. That sounds about right to me.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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70 Hours a week, maybe he was in the Car Biz. That sounds about right to me.
Or more likely one of our famous Chicago Dept of Street and Sanitation workers. They all work 70 hour weeks. That's 40 hours at straight time plus 30 hours of overtime. At least that's what they turn in on their time cards! Of course near career end, they work much more. Gotta get those pensions spiked into six figures!
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:32 AM   #10
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Go into virtually any workplace, and you will see so many pale, unhappy looking people dragging themselves through work that, if they weren't doing it 70 hours each week, they might actually like.
Give the man a break, he's just described most of the submarine commands I was stationed at...
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:13 AM   #11
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Go into virtually any workplace, and you will see so many pale, unhappy looking people dragging themselves through work
Based on my experience, you are an optimist.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:13 AM   #12
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Okay, so shoot me, I'm a liberal.
Well, I'm one of those independent conservatives who does not own a gun. So I won't shoot you, but maybe far worse, I'll try to convert you!

First step in the conversion process - follow this excellent advice from youbet, then report back:


Quote:
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... I would suggest you think about actually doing something regarding the situation you're whining about. Go start a business. Or start it in retirement since you think you'll be retired in 2015. Assume the risk. Hire people and pay them well despite having low requirements for effort and hours worked. You'll then have done something about a situation you don't like and given yourself something entertaining to do.
Extra points for convincing other like-minded people to do the same. You could be a trend setter! Make it an experiment on a grand scale! Good luck to you!

-ERD50
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:47 AM   #13
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Where I w@^k, there are too few people qualified or able to qualify to do the work. The ones who are left are working 12 hour days, 5 or six days a week mandatory time on many jobs. (I am one of the fortunate ones that has a livable schedule.) Healthcare is part of the package, and perversely, is also the economic reason for not hiring more people.
When their healthcare gets reasonable rates, the hidden costs will not override the wage costs of overtime and the company could increase the workforce by 40%. Or they could simply quit providing healthcare benefits. That is what I fully expect, they are silly to not do it. But when they quit providing healthcare, they will have a bunch of critical workers quit in mass. It is the other side of automation, One worker can do the work of fifty in products that are produced, but getting someone who is able to do that work is something that they are having trouble in figuring out.
I have been asked several times what my plans are by worried bosses. Those questions are illegal, so I give flippant answers. I also don't help matters by letting them know that I could decide any day to make it my last, that I am one tantrum away from retirement. It helps, they don't throw as many tantrums my way.
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