Thursday, August 09, 2007
I wrote a bit earlier about the lack of vacation time in the US (including a link to a paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which no longer appears to work [hehee]). Jim at Politics, Theory and Photography posts this striking chart above, also from CEPR, if you need any more convincing. (Before anyone says anything about French productivity, jobs, economic growth or "angst," read these posts: 1, 2, 3, 4). There are, of course, trade-offs to be made between job creation, economic growth, corporate profits, and quality of life. Each country must decide what it wants to emphasize. Vacation time, while really nice to have, is symptomatic of larger decisions a society makes, usually indirectly, and usually influenced by deep-seated political-economic ideology and the consolidation of power among the economic and political elite as much as any particular policy moves. But the US is going to have to figure out at some point that even the lack vacation time (bracketing out our inner Rummy) is a reflection of a perhaps a deeply unhealthy society.