Saturday, June 20, 2009

Before industrial capitalism became ultra-savage, say, before the 1870's or so, the rhythm of the workplace was very different....before, the seasons or the alteration between night and day set the pace. After, everything became regimented, dirty, and noisy. Before, in cigar rolling shops or factories, one worker would be hired to read to the other workers as they rolled cigars most of the day..Plato or Shakespeare or a history book of the day was read aloud to the common workers, because the bosses (then) wanted the workers to experience some cultural improvement. This ended in the late 19th century.

Before the entry of full scale vulture capitalism, something called "blue Monday" was a widespread practice: the worker was allowed to come to work very late, and was not expected to do much labor that day...bosses recognized that the worker needed an extension of the weekend. This too ended in the late 19th century.

As capitalism became increasingly brutal, reactions set in- socialism in Russia, and the New Deal in America are two examples. Labor demanded, and got, a 40 hour workweek.

We are retrograde: these days, 40 hours usually cannot support a 'family of four.' Most families I know have to have two separate paychecks to make it.


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