Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
As I mentioned yesterday, work is good. We need work to earn a living, at least for the most part in the economic model the vast majority of the world lives in. We also need work to feel productive. Always working, however, can burn you out. Most Americans get no paid vacation, and many go without vacations at all. Most Americans have it far better than people in countries opened to corporate abuse by the forces of globalization.
For too many around the world, not only do they not get paid vacations or vacations at all, they do not get days off. Many live on premises, in apartments “provided” by their employers, paying rent and utilities at rates that keep them working. There are many reasons this happens but ultimately it happens because we allow it to.
It happens because we need “brand new” but we don’t want to, or cannot, pay too much for it. It happens because we allowed ourselves to be sold a bill of goods about “free trade,” that has not just sent away jobs in this country, but opened up others to out an out slavery. It happens because we are apathetic and frankly more than a little weak.
We allow our leaders to write trade agreements that allow American companies to do business with countries that have no labor laws at first ostensibly in the name of diplomacy and later for “economic growth.” No one has bothered to ask whose economic growth. Certainly not mine and probably not yours.
No instead, we have fewer jobs and are more desperate for them. Because we are desperate for them we are willing to work longer hours for less benefits and pay. Too many of us believe them when they claim to have avoid shoring up labor laws or even suggest gutting them in the name of “job creation.” We swallow bad pill after bad pill and we do it because we think they have the only medicine in town.
Well, they do not. There are other schools of thought and I do not just mean socialism and communism. There are private communes, employee owned businesses and intentional communities. We do not even have to go that far to shake them off our backs, but shake them off we have to, otherwise before long the weekend will be the stuff of distant memories.