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Three Theories for Why You Have No Time

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Three Theories for Why You Have No Time
Photo: Thomas Mukoya – Reuters | Article by: Derek Thompson

One of the truisms of modern life is that nobody has any time. Everybody is busy, burned out, swamped, overwhelmed. So let’s try a simple thought experiment. Imagine that you came into possession of a magical new set of technologies that could automate or expedite every single part of your job. What would you do with the extra time? Maybe you’d pick up a hobby, or have more children, or learn to luxuriate in the additional leisure. But what if I told you that you wouldn’t do any of those things: You would just work the exact same amount of time as before. I can’t prove this, because I don’t know you. What I do know is that something remarkably similar to my hypothetical happened in the U.S. economy in the 20th century—not in factories, or in modern offices. But inside American homes. […]

Better technology means higher expectations—and higher expectations create more work. […] A lot of modern overwork is class and status maintenance—for this generation and the next. […] Technology only frees people from work if the boss—or the government, or the economic system—allows it. […]

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