No Time to Lose: A Search for Work / Life Balance


Mallick: Huffington Post, AOL and the perils of free labour by notimetolose
February 11, 2011, 10:53 am
Filed under: ideas, news articles | Tags: , , , , ,

by Heather Mallick in The Toronto Star (February 10, 2011)
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/936573–mallick-huffington-post-aol-and-the-perils-of-free-labour

Excerpt:

“Free work is like a puddle of dirty water, spreading fast and if you鈥檙e young, hard to escape unless you keep your wits about you. Unpaid interns are a byword in office life now but they have lousy lives. There鈥檚 a reason interns are asked to rub lotion onto the legs of talk-show hosts. It鈥檚 that people who work for free are treated worse than paid people. But you learn so much about the business! ”

ps – keep an eye on the NTTL link to delicious.com where I continue to post interesting relevant articles when I see them/think to post ’em 馃槈

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CSLS releases study on happiness of Canadians by notimetolose
November 29, 2010, 10:57 am
Filed under: events, ideas, publication | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Notice of Release, November 23, 2010

Does Money Matter? Evidence Shows that Mental and Physical Health, Stress, and Sense of Belonging Trump Income as Determinants of the Happiness of Canadians

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) released today a major study on factors influencing the happiness or life satisfaction of Canadians. The report, prepared in partnership with the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity (ICP), was based on data for 70,000 Canadians from Statistics Canada鈥檚 Community Health Survey.聽 It provides a comprehensive analysis of the happiness landscape in Canada, quantifies the many variables that determine happiness, and explains the variation in happiness across provinces, CMAs and health regions.

The key findings of the study are highlighted below.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 There is relatively little variation in average happiness in Canada both over time and across space. In 2009, 92.1 per cent of the population 12 and over reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives, compared to 91.4 per cent in 2008, 91.9 per cent in 2007, 91.8 per cent in 2005, and 91.3 per cent in 2003. Based on a scale of 1 to 5, the average level of happiness of the Canadian population 20 and over in 2007-8 was 4.26.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 At the provincial level, life satisfaction ranged from a high of 4.33 in Prince Edward Island to a low of 4.23 in Ontario, a total range of 0.10 points (2.5 per cent) out of a potential maximum variation of four points. At the level of the 32 CMAs, average happiness ranged from a high of 4.37 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, to a low of 4.15 in Toronto, Ontario, a range of 0.22 points or 5.5 per cent. At the level of the 121 health regions, average happiness ranged from a high of 4.42 in Kings County, Prince Edward Island to a low of 4.12 in the City of Toronto Health Unit, a range of 0.30 points or 7.5 per cent.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 A one-unit increase in perceived mental health (measured on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is poor mental health and 5 is excellent mental health) raises the proportion of individuals that are very satisfied with life by 17.0 percentage points. Said another way, the effect for the average person of a one-unit increase in mental health on happiness is equivalent to the effect of a 309 per cent increase in household income on happiness.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Perceived health status was also an economically significant determinant of happiness. A one-unit increase in health status increases the proportion of individuals that are very satisfied with life by 8.8 percentage points. Such a change is equivalent to a 157 per cent increase in household income.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 High levels of stress level were associated with lower life satisfaction. Specifically, a one-unit increase in stress (measured on a 5-point scale) decreases the proportion of individuals that are very satisfied by 7.7 percentage points. In terms of household income, this is equivalent to the effect of a 136 per cent decrease on happiness for the average person.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 An individual鈥檚 sense of belonging to their local community was also an important determinant of individual life satisfaction. A one-unit increase in sense of belonging (measured on a 4-point scale) increases the proportion of individuals that are very satisfied with life by 6.5 percentage points. Relative to the effect of household income, such a change is equivalent to a 116 per cent increase in income for the average person.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Unemployment had a negative impact on people鈥檚 happiness. Relative to household income, moving from unemployment to employment has the same impact on happiness as a 151 per cent increase in income for the average person.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Although household income was statistically significant at the one per cent level, it carries less economic significance for happiness than the variables highlighted above. Specifically, a ten per cent increase in household income from the mean increases the proportion of individuals that are very satisfied with life by only 0.6 percentage points.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Geographical variation in happiness in Canada arises for two main sources: differences in the means of variables associated with life satisfaction and the importance of those variables in the life satisfaction regressions. Although sense of belonging was not the most economically significant variable in our models of life satisfaction, the variation in this variable across geographical units was quite large and this factor was key to explaining regional differences in happiness.

The report provides strong support for the 2009 Stiglitz report commissioned by French President Nicholas Sarkozy that recommended greater emphasis be placed on happiness relative to GDP in the development of public policy.

To address this emerging issue of the role of happiness in public policy, the CSLS and the ICP are organizing a conference on this topic in Ottawa on December 1, 2010. Speakers include John Helliwell, Don Drummond, Mel Cappe, and Alan Nymark.

The program is posted here. To register, click here.


For additional information, please contact:
Andrew Sharpe
Executive Director
Centre for the Study of Living Standards
111 Sparks Street, Suite 500
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5B5
613-233-8891
Fax: 613-233-8250
andrew.sharpe@csls.ca
www.csls.ca



“Vijay Monany on fascinating work instead of retirement” by notimetolose
September 10, 2010, 1:08 pm
Filed under: ideas, news articles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

There is nothing enlightened about this proposal and the ulterior motive is remarkably transparent.

Why on earth should people be enticed to continue generating profit for others through their labour? Indeed, wages continue to fall despite profits in a number of sectors (mainly banks). Much work is also related to continuing the ecologically destructive cycle of consumption.

People should have the chance to pursue their own range of聽 interests without external pressures such as bosses, sales quotas, meetings, deadlines, or overtaxing workloads due to reduced staffing. Furthemrore, people should be bal eto pursue their own interests withou being a slave to economic interest as defined by others.

Reposted from: euro|topics 09/09/2010

Le Monde – France
Vijay Monany on fascinating work instead of retirement
If the French have recently striked and demonstrated en masse against the government’s plan to raise the retirement age to 62, it’s because their working environment doesn’t offer them all it should, writes Vijay Monany from the management consulting firm Khampus in the daily Le Monde: “The reason why the French prefer retirement to work is exactly the same as why they prefer holidays to work. … They are bored by their work, and they develop their interests outside of work. The real paradox is that it’s only when they retire that people feel their life is starting, that they can take control of their destiny and read, travel, follow their interests, or spend time with their friends. … One day we’ll understand that social progress does not consist in stringing together weeks of holiday, reducing the number of working hours or lowering the retirement age. One day we will understand that true progress consists in making work so interesting that there will be no difference between it and leisure time. One day we’ll see that the solution to pension reform consists in rendering work so fascinating that no one wants to retire.” (08/09/2010)
禄 full article (external link, French)
More from the press review on the subject 禄聽Trade unions, 禄聽Social affairs, 禄聽Labour, 禄聽France
All available articles from 禄聽Vijay Monany



TEXTE ZUR KUNST: Life at work by notimetolose
September 9, 2010, 11:32 am
Filed under: ideas, publication | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


This issue of “Texte zur Kunst” bears the programmatic title “Life at Work”. Admittedly, this means to take up quite a bit, for at issue is nothing less than revaluating a theoretical and historical relation that has determined the history of modern and contemporary art like almost no other: Since “around 1800”, the forms of art have been ascribed a quasi-organic life of their own. An important trend in modern aesthetics sought to evoke liveliness, with the aim of offering resistance to the commodified world of capitalism itself. But how does this problematic pose itself today? Is a critical reference to “life” in art and beyond at all possible after theories of biopolitics have insistently argued that capitalism has permeated all areas of life?

Plus reviews from Berlin, Madrid, Zurich, Basel, Tel Aviv, Vienna, Barcelona, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Leverkusen, and Kraichtal

Exclusive new artists’ editions:
Louise Lawler, Thomas Scheibitz

ENGLISH CONTENT

SVEN L脺TTICKEN
ACTS IN THE AGE OF VIRTUOSO PERFORMANCE

BRANDEN W. JOSEPH
LEE LOZANO’S DREAM OF LIFE

ERIC C. H. DE BRUYN
INTERMITTENT CONVERSATIONS ON LEAVING THE FACTORY

PATENTED IDEALISM
A Conversation between Sven L眉tticken and Hito Steyerl

SABETH BUCHMANN
LIFE AS ALLEGORY
On Joseph Beuys’s “La revoluzione siamo Noi”

RACHEL HAIDU
PERFORMANCE LIFE

PAUL CHAN
MIRACLES, FORCES, ATTRACTIONS, RECONSIDERED

REVIEWS

ALEXANDER ALBERRO
THE SILVER LINING OF GLOBALIZATION
On “The Potos铆 Principle” at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid

MICHAEL SANCHEZ
A DOSE OF FEELING
On Michael Krebber at Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin

ARTISTS’ EDITIONS

LOUISE LAWLER
“DISCERNIBLE DIFFERENCE”, 2010

THOMAS SCHEIBITZ
“MASTERPLAN”, 2010

For additional information, orders or subscriptions please contact:

TEXTE ZUR KUNST
STRAUSBERGER PLATZ 19
10243 BERLIN
Germany

TEL +49 (0)30 鈥 30 10 453 45
FAX +49 (0)30 鈥 30 10 453 44

editionen@textezurkunst.de
http://www.textezurkunst.de



Latest links by notimetolose

Since concern about work/life balance — rather the growing lack of it! — seems to have only grown since NTTL was presented at Peacock Visual Arts in 2008, I’ve decided to continue posting links and other information here as part of an ongoing commitment to this project.

Here are a few items that have come up recently, that I’d like to add…

1) Another exhibition

Workers Leaving the Workplace exhibition curated by Joanna Sokolowska鈥 Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz – 06.07 – 05.09.2010

The point of departure for the exhibition are contemporary changes of labour and production referred to by researches as 鈥瀙ost-fordism” and connected with the development of the global information society and economy based on services and knowledge. This model of economy has extended the traditional borders of productivity by a complex and diverse set of social, intellectual, emotional and communicative processes, thus leading to engagement of workers` and consumers` subjectivity into cycles of production and reproduction of capital beyond fixed hierarchies and categories. Labour viewed from this perspective becomes biopolitics: management of life, creating its new forms. Productivity enters areas it used to be separated from: these of free time, entertainment, aesthetic experiences, social involvement, political action and housework. The requirements of constant efficiency, self-education and flexibility in adjusting to the constantly changing conditions also known today as self-improvement have caused us not to cease producing capital even after leaving our workplace.

The exhibition will debate three main intertwining themes: industrial labour, broadened and hybrid character of contemporary productivity, an artist鈥榮 work and economy. The works focused on industry or its remnants will examine labour processes connected to the factory incorporated into immaterial flows of meaning, that determine in fact entire production cycles. The artists who position labour within the wide field of social and generic activities will particularly concentrate on an ambivalent, flexible and elusive dimension of work today, which often makes the worker function on the verge between self-realization and (self)exploitation. To what extent are the artistic practices 鈥 operating with and reprocessing after all images and meanings – reliant on the current transformations of capitalism? What kind of economies might be conceived by the artists, what is their potential to break away from the dominant modes of production?

In relation to the exhibition two new works are being prepared: Janek Simon鈥檚 project at Alaba International Market in Nigeria and “The History of the Bomb” by Roman Dziadkiewicz

The Workers Leaving the Workplace project further develops some questions raised by the exhibition Arbeiter verlassen die Arbeitsst盲tte at the Galerie f眉r Zeitgen艖ssische Kunst in Leipzig in 2009.

Artists: Joseph Beuys, Rafa艂 Bujnowski, Roman Dziadkiewicz, Mikl贸s Erhardt, Harun Farocki, Aleksandar Batista Ili膰 (in collaboration with Ivana Keser and Tomislave Gotovac) Kristina In膷i奴rait臈, Piotr Jaros, Ali Kazma, Jean-Luc Moul猫ne, Fr茅d茅ric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Peter Piller, Martha Rosler, Mika Rottenberg, Janek Simon, 艩kart, Mladen Stilinovi膰, Mona V膬t膬manu & Florin, Tudor, Ingo Vetter, Haegue Yang, Artur 呕mijewski

For more information, contact: Joanna Sokolowska — j.sokolowska@msl.org.pl — or visit http://www.msl.org.pl/


2) Creepy news that is not about being flexible but rather about justifying cuts to social security

“British should set their own retirement age”, The Times (UK) via eurotopics

The British government plans to prevent employers from retiring employees aged 65 who want to go on working. The daily The Times is delighted: “In earlier decades, when employment was dominated by manufacturing, workers were a drag on productivity as they became physically weaker. But in an economy characterised by the provision of services and the application of knowledge, older workers contribute far more. A default retirement age is neither a boon to them nor a way of improving the productivity of the workforce. On the contrary, it adds to one burden that an ageing society does impose, namely the expanding costs of pension provision. The proposal to abolish the DRA would ameliorate that problem by its symbolism. In indicating that older workers have an important contribution to the world of work, the Government may persuade many of them to stay within it. They will pay taxes as well as draw pensions.” (30/07/2010)

3) Omega Interventions: Burnout-Performance

For more info, visit: http://www.rebelart.net/diary/omega-interventions-burnout-performance/005820/

4) They don’t because they can’t…

Canadians not using their vacation time
Talbot Boggs, The Canadian Press
(Special) – Canadians aren’t getting enough – vacations that is.

“A new Harris/Decima poll has found that although Canadian workers have an average of 19.68 days a year off, almost one quarter don’t use all their vacation time and give back an average of 2.17 days.

The most common reasons Canadians give for not using their full vacation time include not scheduling their vacation well enough in advance, they are too busy to get away or their significant others are not able to get away from their jobs.”

Read more: http://finance.sympatico.ca/home/canadians_not_using_their_vacation_time_/125050dd



Everything is related… by notimetolose
July 21, 2010, 10:16 am
Filed under: news articles | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Foxconn suicides highlight China鈥檚 sweatshop conditions
By John Chan, 3 June 2010, World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org)

Thirteen suicide attempts since January, half of them during May, inside Foxconn鈥檚 huge plant at Shenzhen, a major manufacturing hub in southern China, underscore the brutal exploitation of Chinese workers by the world鈥檚 largest corporations. Ten workers have died, most of them just 18 to 24 years old. In the latest tragedy, a young man slashed his wrists in one of the factory鈥檚 dormitory last week.

Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is the world鈥檚 biggest electronics outsourcing manufacturer, operating 20 plants and employing more than 800,000 workers in China. The Shenzhen plant in Guangdong province houses 400,000 workers, making products from iPhones and iPads to PlayStations for international brands like Apple, Sony, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Analysts estimate that about 70 percent of Apple鈥檚 products are manufactured there.

Most of the 13 workers who tried to kill themselves jumped from buildings because they were unable to bear the stress, alienation and humiliation they experience daily. They come from a second generation of migrant workers who, unlike their rural parents, have much higher expectations of urban life. They have access to the Internet and mobile phones and constantly see the vast new wealth that they help to create, but do not own.

Like other exporting companies, Foxconn鈥檚 basic monthly wage of 950 yuan ($US140) is in line with Shenzhen鈥檚 official minimum wage. Employees must work hours of overtime each day to make about 2,000 yuan to meet basic needs. Their harsh experiences go well beyond low wages. Foxconn recruits must undergo a course of 鈥渕ilitary training鈥 to prepare them for the company鈥檚 industrial discipline.

Foxconn鈥檚 military-style regime, which is typical of export factories in China, requires workers to live in dormitories with up to 10 people a room. A single dormitory houses 5,000 workers, and there are many dozens of them. Workers are only allowed to enter their own rooms with electronic badges and are not allowed to cook, or have visitors or sexual relations. The dorms have no air conditioning in order to pressure workers to do extra overtime during the summer, as there is air conditioning on the factory floor.

Read the full article here: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jun2010/foxc-j03.shtml



A Bit Rich: Calculating the real value to society of different professions by notimetolose
January 30, 2010, 8:47 pm
Filed under: ideas | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The link below connects to a recent report issues by the New Economics Foundation on how the value of work is calculated. It can be dowloaded in .pdf format, or ordered printed and bound.

Thank you for passing this my way, Monika!!

————————

This report takes a new approach to looking at the value of work. We go beyond how much different professions are paid to look at what they contribute to society. We use some of the principles and valuation techniques of Social Return on Investment analysis to quantify the social, environmental and economic value that these roles produce 鈥 or in some cases undermine.

* * *

Pay matters. How much you earn can determine your lifestyle, where you can afford to live, and your aspirations and status. But to what extent does what we get paid confer 鈥榳orth鈥? Beyond a narrow notion of productivity, what impact does our work have on the rest of society, and do the financial rewards we receive correspond to this? Do those that get more contribute more to society?

Our report tells the story of six different jobs. We have chosen jobs from across the private and public sectors and deliberately chosen ones that illustrate the problem. Three are low paid 鈥 a hospital cleaner, a recycling plant worker and a childcare worker. The others are highly paid 鈥 a City banker, an advertising executive and a tax accountant. We examined the contributions they make to society, and found that, in this case, it was the lower paid jobs which involved more valuable work.

The report goes on to challenge ten of the most enduring myths surrounding pay and work. People who earn more don’t necessarily work harder than those who earn less. The private sector is not necessarily more efficient than the public sector. And high salaries don’t necessarily reflect talent.

The report offers a series of policy recommendations that would reduce the inequality between different incomes and reconnect salaries with the value of work.

* * *

http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/bit-rich?utm_source=nef+%28the+new+economics+foundation%29+List&utm_campaign=daf4a1636f-eletter-january&utm_medium=email