We buy stuff to cheer ourselves up, to keep up with the Joneses, to fulfill our childhood vision of what our adulthood would be like, to broadcast our status to the world, and for a lot of other psychological reasons that have very little to do with how useful the product really is. How much stuff is in your basement or garage that you haven’t used in the past year? The real reason for the forty-hour workweekI agree with most of this post but disagree with its claim that companies selling to you are manipulating your time as a worker. They only take advantage of our "scheduled" lives.
The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.
I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.
The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time.
Suddenly I have a lot more money and a lot less time, which means I have a lot more in common with the typical working North American than I did a few months ago.
Bottom Line: Nobody ever died regretting that they missed a day at the office.
PS: How good is life in your country? Check out this OECD comparison of quality of life in 36 countries. The US ranks 3rd on neutral weights, but much lower on my priorities.