Dead Horses, Etc.
Reducing by half the hours we spend producing useful things will halve the number of useful things for distribution ("Why Work?" July 7). That will halve the standard of living for everyone. There is just no getting around that. To even maintain our present standard of living, we need to increase production, not decrease it. And no, we can't make everyone work harder and do the same job in half the time. That is not realistic; that is not human nature.
If going from 40 to 21 hours will work, why stop there? Let's have a 10-hour workweek! I am reminded of the old folk story about the farmers who one day forgot to feed their plow horses. They were worried, but lo and behold the horses did the same amount of plowing that day. So they tried it again the following day. Again, the horses did exactly the same amount of work. The farmers thought that they were really on to something.
This went on for a while, until one morning they found the horses all dead. They couldn't figure out why.
Really Needs a Vacation
"Why work?" asks Leilani Clark. Why not just cut the 40-hour workweek in half, and everyone will be happier? I found this article to be short-sighted and borderline offensive.
She writes as though it is news that a 21-hour workweek would improve our lives and make us all more "sane and healthy." I don't think anyone's going to disagree that it would be nice to spend more time with our families, riding our bikes and growing our own food, except maybe those of us for whom Ms. Clark's personal lifestyle choices are either (1) uninteresting or (2) unattainable due to our immigration status, education level or disability.
I'm pleased to see that the author remembered issues of healthcare and age. Perhaps the next article she writes will enlighten me on how my husband and I (collectively we work over 90 hours per week) can move out of our shitty apartment and afford cable television.
Thank you for the inspiring article about permaculture ("Thought Processes") in your June 30 issue. Your readers have a chance to visit Erik Ohlsen's inspiring site! Please join Daily Acts on Sept. 11 for a tour of both Erik's site and the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center with Brock Dolman. A quick correction to note on p23: Erik Ohlsen designed a permaculture food forest for the city of Petaluma's Cavanagh Center, not the city of Sebastopol. This community center has already educated and inspired hundreds of kids and adults, and will produce thousands of pounds of food and medicine over the course of its lifetime.
Savvy cities around the county are expressing their support for permaculture as an effective form of water conservation and community benefit. Similar to our work in Petaluma with Erik Ohlsen, Daily Acts and the City of Cotati have partnered to educate residents on how to grow food and save water simultaneously while installing a model food forest similar to the Cavanagh Center landscape. Even better, through Cotati's Cash for Grass Program, citizens get paid $1 a square foot to install a similar food forest when replacing their lawn!
To join in, please contact us for more information about tours, workshops and eco-savvy solutions. Three cheers for optimism and solution-oriented pragmatic action.
Erin Axelrod, Daily Acts