Blackspot

Time for a Vacation?

Is working fewer hours and longer vacations a good place to start rethinking capitalism?

In the first blackspot blog post we had a comment suggesting a place to start rethinking capitalism: why not take Wednesdays off? It's an interesting proposal and one I don't think we should dismiss simply because we have been programmed for years to accept the standard work week. Look at France, for example. They work fewer hours than North Americans and are more productive. Sounds great, but there are two sides to the issue. Some critics say their system is doomed to collapse. CBS news reports on France's less work, more time off strategy:

"The French are so passionate about their vacations, they put pleasure before profit. As tourists throng the streets and summer temperatures hit their peak, Paris’ most popular ice-cream parlor is closed for a whole six weeks. It’s the kind of business bonanza that would be seized upon by Americans, but the French don’t seem to care. "The big difference is money, the place of money in your life," says Marchand. Marchand says money isn’t the top priority there. Maybe that’s because in France things like health care and education are virtually free. But if you think the French have unlocked the door to paradise, don’t start packing yet.”

Read here to find out more about the debate. Are shorter hours and more vacation time the first step towards the change we need? And even if longer vacations are not the key to overthrowing capitalism , how can we take a lesson from the French and radically shift our priorities away from the bottom line and towards pleasure, people, and the planet?

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Comments on the article “Time for a Vacation?”

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Phil Rabin

More vacation time will only be the key to overthrowing capitalism if you take your vacation in Cuba... and stay there... for ever.

Phil Rabin

More vacation time will only be the key to overthrowing capitalism if you take your vacation in Cuba... and stay there... for ever.

S. Wolf

One option: have the days between Christmas and New Year's declared mandatory holidays. People around here have suggested it often enough. It isn't as though much gets done during that time anyway.

But, yes, getting companies to make sure people take their alloted vacations would be a start. Perhaps a law which has the company pay the staff DOUBLE time for unused vacations? Hit the company in the wallet. Usually works. I've got 51 vacation leave days accumulated (even more of paid sick days) and I'm not sure when I'll get to use them, if at all. This month alone I'm up to 27.5 hours of overtime, and the month's not over yet.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94517809@N00/sets/

S. Wolf

One option: have the days between Christmas and New Year's declared mandatory holidays. People around here have suggested it often enough. It isn't as though much gets done during that time anyway.

But, yes, getting companies to make sure people take their alloted vacations would be a start. Perhaps a law which has the company pay the staff DOUBLE time for unused vacations? Hit the company in the wallet. Usually works. I've got 51 vacation leave days accumulated (even more of paid sick days) and I'm not sure when I'll get to use them, if at all. This month alone I'm up to 27.5 hours of overtime, and the month's not over yet.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94517809@N00/sets/

J

I think it's a sad state of affairs when the young bright minds of our country are wasted on figuring out ways NOT to work.
Just another example of how fast the ball is rolling in the wrong direction.

J

I think it's a sad state of affairs when the young bright minds of our country are wasted on figuring out ways NOT to work.
Just another example of how fast the ball is rolling in the wrong direction.

Drea

Linking vacation time to capitalism is fallacy - the very example of France, as well as Germany, Denmark, and others exhibits that, being that they are all capitalist nations. However, linking vacation time/the shorter work week to happiness and, arguably, clarity of thought is certainly valid. The aforementioned Denmark was recently determined to be the "happiest country" on Earth (however it is that one determines such a thing), and we seriously have to ask ourselves why. Like France, Denmark has free health care and education (I am, personally, inclined to give more credence to these facts.), and a shorter work week of 37 hours with [national standard] 5 weeks paid vacation and 4 paid holidays. Certainly says "personal well-being over profit" to me, which may only at a stretch lead to the end of capitalism, definitely leads to a cleaner "mental environment" - who knows what would follow?

Drea

Linking vacation time to capitalism is fallacy - the very example of France, as well as Germany, Denmark, and others exhibits that, being that they are all capitalist nations. However, linking vacation time/the shorter work week to happiness and, arguably, clarity of thought is certainly valid. The aforementioned Denmark was recently determined to be the "happiest country" on Earth (however it is that one determines such a thing), and we seriously have to ask ourselves why. Like France, Denmark has free health care and education (I am, personally, inclined to give more credence to these facts.), and a shorter work week of 37 hours with [national standard] 5 weeks paid vacation and 4 paid holidays. Certainly says "personal well-being over profit" to me, which may only at a stretch lead to the end of capitalism, definitely leads to a cleaner "mental environment" - who knows what would follow?

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