Gateway to ideas; 2; Labor Leisure and Automation
Gateway to ideas. And. Gateway to ideas. A new series of conversations in which ideas are discussed in relation to reading. Today's program neighbor leisure and automation is moderated by Ralph Backlund managing editor of Horizon magazine. To discuss the subject of labored leisure and automation we have two gentlemen today who don't have the leisure at all. They both work 70 hours a week. They're Mr. Lee our perilous director of the Department of Community Services AFLCIO and Mr. Edward t chase a vice president and an editor of The New American Library of world literature. How does it happen Mr. Chase that if you work 70 hours a week you're still concerned about leisure. Well I think this is one of the paradoxes that I as you get leisure or
leisure as you put it maybe will have leisure someday to find out how to pronounce that right. And we tend to get interested in things other than just making money. Would that be the case Mr. Prosper. Well I think one of the reasons why I don't have any leisure is because the paradox again here is that I do have leisure. It so happens that the work that I am engaged in is most of my hobby. Well now I makes a difference everybody has to promise to have that kind of job. I'm afraid no. I mean what what is the paradox. Because obviously we're talking about one thing we're talking about two different kinds of people we're talking about people who don't mind working 70 or 80 or 90 hours a week simply because they love their job because they are committed to their job because they take a great deal of joy because they make their jobs their hobbies and. I'm talking about a limited definition of leisure and then of course on the other hand we're talking about people who are engaged in occupations which are terribly boring terribly tiresome and who don't find any opportunities
for leisure at all. Well I love Slayer we were conducting a discussion 75 years ago a 70 hour week would not be anything unusual that I know about 70 hour week which are they not provide anybody with an opportunity for leisure on less than 70 hours a week were enjoyable 70 I think the question really here is whether or not you and Joy leisure and enjoyment by enjoyment I mean enjoyment of the of the heart and the mind. Mr. Pearl as Sidney Hawke has a phrase I don't want his books he talks about the ideal for every man and least for an intellectual like Sidney Hook is to reach the state where earnings one earning one's living is the same of living one's life. And this I think is what you're trying to do in the sense of converting the increased leisure of the worker to something besides just ranking Barrow sitting around the house and becoming erotic. I write about.
Mr. Chase is not possible you and Mr. promise of solve that problem. But there are millions of human beings who have not and who suddenly are confronted with a problem because we have we don't have to work as much as they used to. That's right I think that how much of the work we've gone down in this country in the past half century. Well I would say since the half century about days only about 20 25 or so we now have in theory a 40 hour week where you have a year you have a hundred and fifty five more hours of paid leisure then we had 20 years ago. I think this is what you have paid leisure. Well holidays vacation time so for other words it's been a substantial cut back which does not count the extra leisure time and of the day. Well you also include retirement in the sense of pay like you right. So this is so this problem of what you do with your life. When you're not working is is becoming a concern as it never has been before in history I think this is something quite new in the face of the earth.
Well we're back at the beginning of the century readed Cup I kept saying in a letter to William James wrote the curse of America sheer hopeless well-ordered boredom. And that is going someday to be the curse of the world. That was he pressured 20s on that. Well I think there is another way of putting it perhaps nowadays and that is that we have a new leisure class with time on their hands. Well societies of civilizations always had a leisure class but it was this is a new leader of the new Asia how is it different from the old one. It's reversed and now they now they the worker with his hands and the worker who is not essentially an intellectual workers has the leisure or as the intellectual workers the 70 hour week man. So there's been this this reversal of the traditional roles. And the question that I think the thing that it's important to recognize here is that we're better equipped to deal with this though than we might have been. At an earlier period because there's been one social revolution that doesn't get enough credit in this country and that's a
social revolution of public free public education. You have something like 20 to 30 out of 50 youth now that go beyond 15 when they're beyond 15 years of age they go through and finish high school and back in 1900 only about 1 in 50 did. So this means there's a certain preparation for dealing with us that we didn't have. I'm not suggesting that it's ideal by a long shot caused by the same token they're better prepared for work out in that. Yes I don't want to split hairs with Mr. Chase here when I think that I think Mr. Chase and I would agree that there is a vast difference between leisure and free time. We may have a lot of free time but not necessarily leisure time and I think that's a point how what's the difference Mr. Gurlitt. Well I think I think for example if we cut down the 60 hour week to 40 hour week we have 20 hours perhaps a free time but we may not use the 20 hours free time in such a way as to create leisure time for example.
William Hayes like the English romantic poetry and prose said the only true retirement is that of the heart and the only true leisure is the repose of the passions. Now I don't know whether that fits into the 23 hours which a lot of us since the last 50 years. What do you think Mr. Pearl is I do think of leisure as a kind of regenerative time creative time as opposed to merely free time. I would think so I would thing that we can use it depends on how we use that free time we can use that free time descriptively and we can use that free time constructively. And I think and there lies a difference between what the Greeks and Romans meant about leisure. Well now here's an advertisement of their money in a paper and I just pick out this one because it is one I happen to see about a place called Leisure village which is for people who are retired and says
take the facilities right on the grounds of the Riviera sized swimming pool or a lake for boating and fishing a pitch and putt golf course shuffleboard horseshoe pitching and croquet 10 fully equipped hobby workshops and studios and a big community hall. Now this is one definition of leisure but I think you must have something in mind that's a little larger and embraces more than hobbies and putting away the time. Well I think I don't know a lot of the chase and Lester back then would agree with me but I have a smorgasbord approach to leisure. There are many things on the tray each word. What hope. Choose what suits his particular needs. It may very well be that leisure village you're talking about but on the on the other hand it may very well be about his office talking about the repose of the heart. I had maybe a lonely walk in the park it may be just sitting home and thinking I don't know I depends on
the individual capacity to use constructively. And here of course we've got it all kind of definition what you mean by constructive to use constructively the additional hours which we have gained over the past 50 years and there's no doubt that we have these additional hours which is why we also like 909. No doubt about this. I think this is a nice idea Mr. Perle is talks about I think if you look at it realistically though that there is at least implicit evidence that Americans are not very well geared for this. There's always this talk about the fact that we don't know how to we know how to work but we don't know how to live because of the Puritan ethic that's putting it pretty high sounding I think the real ethic that makes us incapable of proper leisure a construct of leisure is a market ethic. The notion that you have to be making for yourself all the time and I think it's that this is something that many people have great difficulty psychologically adjusting to the fact that they're not putting there their daily hours to gain that's why we have so
much moonlighting. Would you say McClellan's mom afraid that Mr. Chase and I don't disagree at all. I think that the question of moonlighting has economic. He would lie for money. That's right. I think the reason why people moonlight largely is because they want to make more money. Why do you think Mr. Cheney would like because the war they want to keep busy. I think it's partly that too I think it's a combination. But there's an interesting paradox here though and that is that there's been as accumulating evidence that. As more people take courses in education and become more cultivated they get more money and resources go into education and research as opposed to say investment in equipment that this has a greater stimulus to economic growth than the traditional investment into equipment and fact there's considerable evidence that nearly half the economic growth of the 20th century can be attributed to this development of brain power if you well that that
really reflects a shift in the emphasis of where our resources go and this is a very hopeful thing. I'm very much interested what you said mistake before about the Moonlighting and the Comicon psychological causes and consequences of moonlighting. I recall somebody who wrote a book about it who did a study of the rubber workers in Akron Ohio if you recall. Yes but I don't I don't recall the book but there were many pieces of it but there are as this particular one was in connection with the moon lighting experiences of the rubber workers I think achieved a 35 hour week. Right. And it was his contention that there were both economic and psychological causes for this moonlight. My guess is from my own observations that they are largely economic. Cause us your body there are certainly psychological consequences. Is moonlighting necessarily bad.
If people worked well I think they're bad for many reasons I think they're bad for our economy as a whole especially and face something like Guy believe Mr Chase said before something like six million unemployed in this country. I think they're also bad in terms of the individual capacity to live a full life a complete life. So that I think that if we had a a society in which a person can gainfully be employed for himself and his family achieve a certain standard of living and at the same time fulfill him self as a complete human being then writing would not be necessary it would would be would be that dream lead dramatic. So you think moonlighting would disappear with economic security. I would have the emotional secure and I think that largely moonlighting would disappear with
economic security but I think also let me let me just hedge a bit that we would have to find substitutes. For satisfactions which a person some people some people derive from his job from working from home from working when I'm not going back to the idea of the Puritan ethic because as Mr. Chase said I mean he mentioned this is it is one of the reasons that people explain how they explain moonlighting of course most of the people who cite the so-called Puritan ethic compared with the Latin countries where it doesn't exist and say how happy Levy will say the French and Italians are generally off hours but I wonder whether in their increasing influence in the production of increasing over there whether they might not be as eager to work as we are without any Puritan ethic to spur them on. Do you think this gets back to this so-called market ethic right introduced before. I'd like to correct one figure I think there are four million unemployed but there are another two million bringing the total of
six who are simply not active in the labor market that discouraged going in one way or another. They were drawn to the labor market wrong in effect so that there were really dealing with a fairly substantial fraction of the population. But on your point about the Certainly all the reports from Europe in the southern climes indicate that they are coming converging much closer to the American habits and traditions here so I think you've got a point. The question I think that ultimately arises as the tag end of the name of this program automation as a great division of opinion as to whether a cyber nation I believe is a more fashionable term now or whether this is going to revolutionize productivity that in fact much of the Western world will have enormous amounts of leisure time on hand. This is certainly not directly around the corner but it's a possibility that has to be faced. And Mr. Chase if I may interrupt you I think you said in a recent article New York Times magazine you quoted Dr. bellman of the Rand Corporation is predicting that within 10 to 25 years a mere 2
percent of the population will be able to produce everything the nation can possibly consume. Is that is that a pipe dream. Well I would imagine it is although I must say I don't say why do it I mean it would be able to conceivably it could happen that a better economist than those who subscribe to that will give some credence to it. But the idea that they would somehow that it would be unthinkable I mean in our time. I would agree with that I think that it's a monster prospect. Meaning there will be some limit put on how the mission you think you did in order to provide jobs for people in the end to limit the amount of leisure. I mean I don't see any Luddite attempt to throttle technology but I can imagine all kinds of of expedience such as when I mention the time such as a shorter work year shorter work week. I think that's one possibility an extension of education which Secretary words wants. There are various practical experience and I want to which is going to suffice but together they will at least question this and the hope
is that we will somehow mature enough psychologically and socially to withstand the prospect of enormous leisure time. When I do you gentlemen think we can achieve that materially since clearly we don't have it quite yet. I think I think we ought to face up to the real problem that automation is going to result and the production of more goods by fewer hands in the shorter time. We will therefore have more and more free time. The question is how are we going to use that free time. Are we going to use that free time for the benefit of the individual and society as a whole or are we going he was so destructively that it would deteriorate the individual and help to destroy society by destroying I think. How would you project. Well I think I have a drug. The destructive use of the leisure time is not only in the area of juvenile delinquency for example and
idleness and tremendous guilt feelings as a result of the Puritan ethic for example idle hands do the devil's work kind of by not it too I think there is nothing wrong even from a religious point of view. I think Dr Joseph Piper in his book the leisure of the bases of culture try to relate the whole question of leisure to theology for example and in Genesis it says that God created the world in six days and the rest of the seven there was nothing wrong about God resting the seventh day as a matter of fact there was nothing in Genesis of what you even talk about God playing tennis on the seventh day playing golf on the seventh day or doing something he simply rested and I assume that what he did on the seven days rested and thought about doing something else for Humanity or for the world. But implicit in all this is the fact that the Lord six days so that he walked six days Yossi and I live not for now and but that was the God of centuries ago. And
perhaps it is entirely possible that. What we have what we've what we've faced now is the. And as I was all about a nation we're going to be able to work less and less and rest. Let me put this in quote rest more more time by resting I mean really ARE YOU ARE YOU IN A R R E R Us state rejuvenating ourselves rejuvenating ourselves and thereby rejuvenate ing our whole society. I must disagree with this I must say I don't see anything on the horizon psychologically that moves us I think there will be some practical experience though for example you know disagree with the ideal only with the part of the IJA a lot although I must say the RAS someone's up to me that hideous ad you read before where we have people for example putting their lives away in the end of
the end of the lifespan. I do think that we are on a very high level of abstraction and I think there are some specific things that will happen aside from things mentioned earlier for example a shorter work year and things of this nature which were producing this but to. Oh well right Mr. Chase. Oh I'd say in the next next eight or 10 years you'll see significant changes. But for example you'll see city planning change people. The population is growing rapidly people will have time on their hands and I want to be able to spend it in cities of a particular bit so difficult to get to say Montauk Point or what not and so I think this will affect urban design and it's going to affect urban transport you're going to find that that as a demand to go to the theatre and so forth. Some of the great inhibitions to fulfilling these cultural desires Well well have to be met and this has to do with the actual construction the environment in other words I'm suggesting that that this is a very pervasive development we have and it's going to intrude in all our social and political arrangements
so that it's not simply a question of what the psychological state of people is going to be going to be doing some practical things to make it possible. When I ask a question that has to change. How has the shortening the work week up to this point produce that kind of change in some degree. I did one thing that was very very bad it it put a mass urban transport way back because it cut down on the Saturday traffic which was very important to them. Now it hasn't done this yet I don't think but I think this is a real prospect. But these things I'm talking about of more insistent demand that the actual ways in which we get around the logistics of living are going to be are going to be improved I think as we get into the service industries for example we're going to see an expansion of an organization of service industries that we that will revolutionize the way we now take care of all the things we have to do in half an hour on Saturday afternoon. You mean the neighborhood handyman right to become right. I think I think you and I are in a situation talking about the same thing a different way what I'm saying what I'm talking
about rest I mean exactly that an awful lot of people now because as a result of a shorter work week are going to the beaches and piling up on the highways many more people are going on the golf courses playing tennis painting their homes or going fishing going hunting. And many are going to our libraries reading books etc. etc. I think there are a great many opportunities. Well I as a matter of fact the statistics I know this is share with us of yes i think i hate it that's next. For example a musical concert I am told exceeds the attendance at baseball games. Now you think I'm a direct result of having more leisure time. Well I think so I think there was a time when I know I know in my own time when I worked in a factory. When I came home I was pretty darn tired I wote there wasn't just much time to sit down and read or attend a concert. I thing the ability to arrive home on to an earlier time
the interests around you the stimulation in which you were made and what you may find yourself and will do create the opportunities for. More participation I think not only in the cultural at hand of it but also in the educational area and the area of public service in recreation etc. And I was sorry and I just got to say that education is it has it has an internal affect on a subject is not just having time to to indulge in education education changes a man too so that we get it you get a new level of interest and learn how you know this is out of the thought of Mr. Pearl is one to do right. However this is all an ideal which we all believe in but Dennis got bored a book was published last year called him inventing the future so that the problem of our leisure time is going to be so great. He was going to be so much of it. That
man is his present counsel is not prepared for it. We've got to learn not only to to enter public service and to do and to learn to pay to do all these things but that probably should take a leaf from the civilization of the East to learn to contemplate. He doesn't see any possibility otherwise of filling up all this time. Do you think the vacuum is going to be that large that great within 20 25 years. Well you know they must back them that there are people who think they are prepared for it we may think they're not. We had a conference on leisure time just about two years ago. And a great many people at this conference thought that they were pretty well prepared for retirement and leisure time. But there were a great many people who thought they weren't. Who was tell whether or not they are. It depends on your definition as to as to what I pressed not to do in his free time. That's why I said before that I believe in the smorgasbord approach. I thing that a person may find repose
or rest Mr. Chase before said he doesn't agree with me about the word rest. But then we have to define what we mean by rest he may find repose and rest in a bar having a martini or a beer and talking to his friend plays Lego. Another person may find repose on the tennis court and I are talking. Yes and while you have both a martini and then play tennis is that possible. Well I'll give you a scary edition of a book that's coming out has just come out called The technological society and he concedes that we're going to have more time. His fear is that the time is going to be frittered away and in a hideous standardized culture and this is a book that exaggerates but it gets to you too because he he proceeds with thousands of instances and he points to a trend that is very scary. Not our battle as a culture is merely extrapolating from my present Tenn that's his problem.
I think I don't I don't think you should. He realizes that there may be some qualitative changes that are going to change his extrapolation because I would think that with leaders increases that the quality of change might be very large because of the kind of thing that we've ever faced before. Well he he raises the question for example of people will not know whether they're happy not because if chemistry continues the way it has biochemistry they'll be all kinds of pills and other ways for us to to be convinced that we're happy when we were really not happy this is a kind of doomsday vision that he gives us in the end of his book. You think we know that there was the promise. Oh I see I see symptoms of a tranquilizer sideway and. I'm not overly optimistic about many of the things that have occurred in our society over the past few years but at the same time I can see where people are I think not only intellectuals about people in other areas are thinking about the
free time well these remarks you cited for instance that we could cite in the SLI are a sign of this problem has in the last 10 years come upon us and is being thought of that. Obviously you've thought about it. Well I mean the fact that the labor movement thinks our free time in two ways one is basic and that is that the labor movement is concerned with the unemployment. And once a shorter work week the U.S. is not sure are you short of market to spread the jobs. This is one. But the layman is also concerned with the free time which will result. From our automation and the changes that must approach some 20 years ago your mom was concerned with getting more free time was exactly right. Now there was another point you made to me with purpose when I talk to you. Oh many months ago which I thought was very striking as the palace pointed out that 20 years ago our label was negotiating for better death benefits
not a negotiating for better life benefits I mean this is a very striking figure that that is the promise that brings out there isn't there. There's a certain reality about this discussion which I will now like to end with America two points we haven't brought up is that a reality Mr. James. Well one is the fact that we face a population explosion which may topple all these assumptions in a sense that will create problems that are the main goal for us and secondly there is the possibility that we're not going to achieve disarmament and we may have to face the prospect of a nuclear war. These are two possibilities that that have a bearing on this discussion now that we know the reality I think that we can all spend our leisure studying these two problems for the next several years thank you very much. You have been listening to gateway to ideas a new series of conversations in which ideas are discussed in relation to reading today's program neighborhood leisure and automation. Presented it would teach ace author and vice president of the advertising firm of conning them and Walsh and Leo Primus
director of the Department of Community Services and AFL CIO. The moderator was wrath Backlund managing editor of Horizon magazine. To extend the dimension of today's programme for you a list of the books mentioned in the discussion as well as all those relevant to the subject has been prepared. You can obtain a copy from your local library or by writing to gateway to ideas post office box 6 for 1 Time Square Station New York. And please enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope right to box 6 for 1 Time Square Station New York gateway to ideas is produced for national educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation. The programs are prepared by the National Book Committee and the American Library Association in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters technical production by Riverside radio
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