RESEARCH SHOWING THAT WE WORK A LOT HARDER THAN OUR ANCESTORS DID. This article in the Daily Mail by Caroline McGuire describes research by Professor Juliet Schor which provides numbers for arguments I have posted on over the last ten years. I posted here in 2007 about my father’s telling us at the dinner table when I was about ten that he was going to run for president some day on a one issue platform—that he would double or triple the number of holidays. After all, he said, in medieval times there were lots of saints’ days and lots of holidays. Also in 2007 I posted here on Herman Kahn’s proposition that pre-industrial farmers had lots of leisure except during planting and harvesting seasons.
Professor Schor cites records from 13th century England that show that many families only worked 150 days a year on their land. Records also show that in the 14th century, servants often only worked 175 days a year.
Caroline McGuire says that: “In addition to official celebrations, there were often weeks’ worth of ales – to mark important life events (bride ales or wake ales) as well as less momentous occasions (scot ale, lamb ale, and hock ale).”