Life after Peak Employment

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

When I were a lad, people were saying that the challenge of future decades would be what to do with all our leisure time. Working weeks in the advanced economies had fallen and continued to fall. New technology, automation and robots, it was said, would mean that we could improve productivity yet still work less. Books like “The Leisure Shock” were fashionable. The emerging micro-technologies would, we were told, liberate us all from a life of drudgery.

They were still banging on about it when I got to university. I remember one of my lecturers talking about the 32-cubed working life – we would all work 32 hours a week for 32 weeks of the year for 32 years of our lives. That, he assured us, would be enough to keep us comfortably off. The challenge would be working out what to do with the rest of the time. It…

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