Here’s a fine song by Vancouver singer/songwriter Jeremy Fisher, a banjo-and-voice ditty called Built to Last. It comes to you courtesy of worklessparty.org, website of the Work Less Party, which sounds like a bunch of slackers but actually makes a good case for reducing unemployment and environmental damage by lowering the number of hours we are expected to work, here in North America. The case is laid out (in scattershot fashion) in books by the party’s founder, Conrad Schmidt. I’ve read the first, with the lovely title Workers of the World, Relax.
Places like Denmark, i’m told, have all but eliminated unemployment by going to a four-day work week. At first they had all the predictable worries about higher business costs and falling GDP, but reportedly the people love it. I know a lot of friends who would gladly take the cut in pay for a higher quality of life.
I liked Built to Last enough that i checked out Jeremy’ MySpace page. It has several more songs, plus some artful animation videos featuring the likes of Mel Gibson (co-starring with Jeremy in the unreleased film Passion of the Easter Bunny) and an inside scoop on the infamous Billy Bob Thorton meltdown with Jian Gomeshi on Q. Multi-talented guy!
More from Zen and the Beat Way (p. 22-24, emphases mine)
It seems to me in a way … that this emphasis on productivity goes back to the great age of scarcity, when if people did not work, they didn’t have anything to eat. We do not have that situation today. In fact, we are working hard against it…. We are deliberately creating an economy in which machines do our work for us, and an abundance of food is produced. So we have got to learn how to loaf….
In a culture where everybody has to keep producing, even though plenty is produced already, all kinds of propaganda have to be generated to get people to buy up the surplus production. But in order to find the means to buy it, they have got to create surplus production. Well, this is a vicious circle of major dimensions. And although we may not like … the role that the more irresponsible beatniks are playing, it is a role that in a way emerges almost of necessity in our particular kind of civilization.
In other words, people who are going to be nonproductive, who are going to be fundamentally lazy, are going to idealize a life of a certain kind of poverty. And they are going to explore realms of experience that solid citizens have not explored and are indeed afraid to explore — the inner world, the world of imagination and fantasy and the unconscious.
On a similar political note, all you surfer-dude and -dudette sympathizers, check out the Work Less Party, based in Vancouver and apparently contesting our next provincial election.