Leisure, Once a Wealthy Pleasure, Now Belongs to the Poor
What’s the Latest?
Wealthy indivdiuals are working longer hours today than ever before, unlike past generations to whom leisure time was a primary indicator of their wealth. “In 1965 men with a college degree, who tend to be richer, had a bit more leisure time than men who had only completed high school. But by 2005 the college-educated had eight hours less of it a week than the high-school grads.” Economist say this is due to rising inequality, which makes taking leisure time more expensive for the wealthy (in terms of sacrificed wages), while the opportunity cost of leisure is substantially less for low earners.
What’s the Big Idea?
The nature of advanced economies has also changed, becoming more knowledge-intensive and intellectual, such that employment for the middle and upper classes is more enjoyable. “There are fewer really dull jobs, like lift-operating, and more glamorous ones, like fashion design. That means more people than ever can enjoy ‘exploit’ at the office. Work has come to offer the sort of pleasures that rich people used to seek in their time off. On the flip side, leisure is no longer a sign of social power. Instead it symbolises uselessness and unemployment.” Have people begun enjoying working life more than home life?