Why haven’t you seen your friends recently?
With our hectic work-lives now increasingly directed by the demands of a 24-hour gig economy, shared time with friends or the old fashioned idea of the family weekend have been destroyed...
Back in 1929, the Soviet Union abolished the weekend. In its place a more ‘rational’ and less historically religious arrangement was established. The nepreryvka – or “continuous work-week” – divided workers up into five groups and assigned them all colours, with each group given their own specific day off. This way, production would never cease, with four-fifths of the workforce always on the go.
But hasn’t capitalism simply reinvented nepreryvka, Judith Shulevitz argues in The Atlantic, with our hectic work-lives now increasingly directed by the demands of a 24-hour gig economy that has no respect for shared time with friends or the old fashioned idea of the family weekend?
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Maybe this is why you haven’t seen many of your friends recently.
Out of curiosity, I look up the Keep Sunday Special website, and note that they haven’t sent out a press release since March 2016. Perhaps even they have given up the fight.
Does this matter? Isn’t ‘schedule flexibility’ liberating, allowing us all to set our own work pace designed around our own chosen lifestyles? In theory, perhaps. But in practice it means everything has to be scheduled and thus the subject of continuous — and often fraught — negotiation. So families do their own thing. Friends socialise on Facebook. And we all know the euphemism of labour flexibility is often code for fitting round your employer’s needs — both geographical and temporal — rather than your own.
All of which has serious long-term consequences.
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