FINDING TIME IN A DIGITAL WORLD
“Almost a hundred years ago, economist Johan Maynard Keynes imagined that by the beginning of the twenty-first century, we in the West would only have to work three hours a day to satisfy all our needs.” I wish too Keynes, I wish…
The first part of the reading talks about work and its relation to machines and new technologies today. While Keynes predicted a future where leisure would overcome work thanks to machines and new technologies, it looks like the opposite of his prediction defines our society today.
“He anticipated that the constant growth of productivity resulting from technical progress would eventually solve the economic problem of supplying humanity’s material needs at a fraction of the existing work effort. The abundance of time released would lead to a moment when the spontaneous, joyful attitude to life then confined to artists and free spirits was diffused throughout society as a whole.”
Keynes argues that nowadays we live in ‘acceleration society in which technological acceleration produces not more leisure and downtime, but in fact an ever-faster pace of life’’, and goes to compare the human society with Frankenstein : “we have lost control over the machines to which we gave birth.”
In this faster-than-ever society, there are so many ways in which technology reconfigures time and move toward some directions for making more of time. This idea is broken into two parts :
- Reduce work for more leisure/boundaries between work and home.
- Examining whether it alters texture and tempo of life
I am focusing on the first aspect of it because I personally work in a night club during the weekend and I have to admit that most parts of the job are fun, almost as if I was out and not working: live music, night club vibe, alcohol, social part of it – you meet people all the time… So what are the boundaries between work and leisure?
It is sometimes hard to find a boundary between work and leisure/fun but I would say that, working there, you still have responsibilities and a roster with given hours and tasks to complete.
ADDITIONAL READING NOTES:
1950’s Democracy landmark – 8hours/day – 5days/week – Even longer hours today, WHY?
- Capitalist economy (employers dictate the hours and terms of work)
- Overconsumption (such economy inflames)
“They work too much, eat too quickly, socialize too little, drive and sit in traffic for too many hours, don’t get enough sleep, and feel harried too much of the time.” (cool quote)
GENDER DYNAMICS – How we think about time and work
> “Need to take into account not only different patterns of employment between men and women but also, the inequitable distribution of unpaid work within households
> Combination of work + household chores = poverty time widespread for women
> Women fought for work so YAY but now need to deal with work at home + children
“women in full-time employment are particularly busy juggling the conflicting demands of work, family and leisure.”
> Time for women in less ‘leisurely’ quality than men’s, as women are more likely to combine leisure with looking after children
OVERCONSUMPTION – One way time is consumed : skills acquisition to a new ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
Because always changing and evolving, hard to keep up and need to learn every time its something new
“familiarising oneself with and learning how to operate digital devices requires substantial input of unpaid user time.”
-ATMs, self service tills at supermarkets, vending machines, online shopping…
-3D stuff, self-driving cars
Don’t need to look for info/something anymore, everything comes to you – à Suggested pages on Facebook (they track what you like and suggest related pages to you)
“Immediacy, the combination of fast capitalism and the saturation of the every day by media technologies, changes the nature of consumer culture entirely.”
à Characterised by INSTANTANEITY, PROXIMITY, IMMEDIACY
“Assumptions of instant delivery and effortlessly achievable abundance.”
à The culture of ‘Immediacy’ is not capable of creating “new imaginations” of the good life
SLOW LIVING IN MODERN TIMES
-Slow Food Movement
– Slow Cities (CittaSlow)
– Society For The Deceleration Of Time
– The Simple Living Network
even Slow Science exists
“Speed created slowness, as it were”
The Slow Food Movement à contrast to FAST FOOD
WE ARE ENSLAVED BY SPEED AND ALL HAVE SUCCUMBED TO THE SAME INSIDIOUS VIRUS : FAST LIFE
Reluctant to slow-living, WHY?
à “Indeed, making more of time, preserving slow zones, actually requires more technological innovation.”