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Word Count: 1,510
The official working week is being reduced to 35 hours a week In most countries in the world it is limited to 45 hours a week The trend during the last century seems to be unequivocal less work more play Yet what may be true for blue collar workers or state employees is not necessarily so for white collar members of the liberal professions It is not rare for these people lawyers accountants consultants managers academics to put in 80 hour weeks The phenomenon is so widespread and its social consequences so damaging that it acquired the unflattering nickname workaholism a combination of the words work and alcoholism Family life is disrupted intellectual horizons narrow the consequences to the workaholics health are severe fat lack of exercise stress take their toll Classified as alpha types workaholics suffer three times as many heart attacks as their peers But what are the social and economic roots of this phenomenon Put succinctly it is the result of the blurring borders and differences between work and leisure The distinction between these two types of time the one dedicated to labour and the one spent in the pursuit of ones interests was so clear for thousands of years that its gradual disappearance is one of the most important and profound social changes in human history A host of other shifts in the character of the work and domestic environments of humans converged to produce this momentous change Arguably the most important was the increase in labour mobility and the fluid nature of the very concept of work and the workplace The transitions from agricultural to industrial then to the services and now to the information and knowledge societies each in turn increased the mobility of the workforce A farmer is the least mobile His means of production are fixed his produce was mostly consumed locally because of lack of proper refrigeration preservation
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