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From the national educational radio network here is a Business Review ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ROSS Wilhelm of the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration presents his views and comments of business and economic activity in recent years we've heard the claim that America is on a on the brink of a leisure time crisis. It's argued that as technological advances occur we'll have shorter working lives and shorter work weeks and we will have increasing difficulties in filling our free time. Well I believe that those so arguing are overestimating the extent to which the work week will be reduced over time. All of the evidence indicates that we will not have a leisure time crisis regardless of how much it may be reduced. The most fundamental fallacy in the leisure time crisis argument is the assumption that leisure time activities are principally a function of the amount of free time available. Leisure time activities of individuals do require some free time but the important limiting factor is not time but income. All evidence shows clearly that leisure time activities of our population increase with increases in income. If we're facing a leisure
time crisis the crisis will come from inadequate incomes and not from the simple availability of more time. If incomes are adequate The people will fill the leisure time without any difficulty and the time will be filled with rewarding in a richer riot of activities. Once it's recognised that leisure time activities are a function of income the internal contradiction in the leisure time crisis argument is obvious. The way the work week will be reduced is through productivity or efficiency increases productivity or efficiency increases can be taken by the population in a variety of ways the two most important of which are shortening the work week or the working life and increases in income over the broad sweep of our history we have taken our productivity increases partly in the form of reductions in the work week and partly in the form of higher incomes less over time of productivity increases were to permit the work week to be cut in half. This would mean that our incomes measured in terms of today's dollars probably would be at least twice as large as they are now. And if the income of the American people were to at least double as
implied in the argument there would be absolutely no difficulty in filling the edit time. Indeed we would have a leisure time boom of unprecedented proportions rather than a leisure time recession. Just review in your own mind what's happened in America since the end of World War 2. Since the end of World War 2 all of our incomes have risen sharply while the work week has remained relatively constant. But what has happened to the sale of the things that we use in our leisure time over this period. When you drive on a super highway today you see about the same proportion of cars towing boats or house trailers or camping equipment as you observed in 1050. Obviously not as our incomes have risen there's been an explosion in the number of these leisure time tools owned by Americans. How many people do you know who now own a summer home or of taking a major trip recently or now a ski or sale or ride horses or engage in various sports. Who could not even have considered doing these things in 1050. The list will probably include many if not most of your friends. Further let's remember that these people for
the most part had just as much leisure time in 1050 as they have now. The important factor in leisure time activities is not time but money. Indeed it's probably an accurate statement or at least it fits the facts better that we're coming out of a leisure time crisis rather than going into one in terms of the richness of the variety of our leisure time activities. We were in a leisure time crisis in the 1940s and 1950s as compared to today except we just didn't realize we were in a crisis. How do we spend our leisure time. We spend a voting reading books bowling engaging in outdoor sports participating in organizational activities such as bridge clubs the church or politics. We go to movies pl. plays concerts fairs or entertain our friends in our living rooms or on the patios or at the side of us were for some of us at the side of the pool. We go on trips we collect stamps or coins we knit or we search for antiques. We help at the hospital or with charities or even to work in the ghetto. We go to school take correspondence courses plane collect phonographic records. We go camping we
watch TV we listen to the radio we watch birds including the winged and non winged varieties. We rebuild cars we build boats add to the house grow things and worry about crabgrass. We play with the kids get involved in the little league go fishing and hunting and take and developing pictures leisure time crisis. My heavens if we had any more free time and higher incomes we'd all die of heart attacks because of the strain it would put on us. That was Associate Professor Ross Wilhelm of the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration. With his views and comments on business and economic activity Business Review is recorded by the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service. This is the national educational radio network.
Business review
Leisure time crisis
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In program number 419, Ross Wilhelm talks about the concept of a "leisure time crisis," related to work and free time.
Series Description
This series, hosted by Ross Wilhelm, focuses on current news stories that relate to business and economic activity.
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Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Wilhelm, Ross, 1920-1983
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35c-419 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:05:00
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Chicago: “Business review; Leisure time crisis,” 1969-06-24, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “Business review; Leisure time crisis.” 1969-06-24. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Business review; Leisure time crisis. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from