Work, Free Time and Consumption

This article deals with the intersections of globalization, work time and consumption. Free market globalization had several promises, among others that deregulation and global competition would bring the increase of efficiency and productivity, and thus would lead to welfare growth. Th is vision of globalization also implied the hope that employees’ freedom to determine their work time would positively change, while work time, in general, would decrease. In comparison, the truth is (at least for the “developed” countries) that the number of working hours is the greatest in those countries the economy of which is mostly integrated into the global economic system. Its consequence is the decrease of leisure time. In terms of leisure time, consumer attitude is the dominant: people attempt to gain the most during their leisure time. Consumers find themselves in a paradoxical situation, though. The absolute growth of the volume of consumption does not necessarily correspond with greater satisfaction. This is because consumption is primarily a relativist attitude: one compares itself to others, he/she competes with them when consumes. And if everyone (or the majority) consumes more than before, despite this absolute growth, people’s relative position does not change. Accordingly, people consume more; and work more to be able to afford it. But this does not certainly mean a greater satisfaction for them at all.

Released: Replika 70, 101–108.
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