Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Not Enough Time to Cook?

 It is estimated that cave people worked less than 20 hours a week to produce life's essentials. In 1930, economist John Manyard Keynes believed that, due to increased productivity, his grandchildren would likely have to work only 15 hours a week. In 1968, Mechanix Illustrated predicted: "People will have more time for leisure activities in the year 2008. The average work week is about four hours."

Here we are in 2017, at hand the greatest time-savings devices ever known. For most the work week is longer and more stressful. Technology has not delivered the promised dividend of time. It has increased the burden of living. Its benefits have flowed to the already rich.

This perceived shortage of time has given rise to a previously unthinkable e-commerce business. For a fee, someone will buy, measure, cut, chill, box and ship every ingredient for a meal to your door. According to a purveyor of this service, "There's not enough time in modern lives to receipt-collect or grocery-shop." (New York Times, March 31, 2013)

With an array of push-button devices at our command, why is there "not enough time"? Why has technology not improved our lives to the point where we can stop after four hours of work? As Shakespeare has observed, the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.

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