Free Time for Workers a Victim of Capitalism


Free Time for Workers a Victim of Capitalism
reprinted from
The People
September 1996



A Cleveland bank recently advertised new services that claim to save time for their customers. The ads state that people in this country have 11 fewer days of leisure time than they did two decades ago, and push their services by proclaiming in large letters, "Free time. The most valuable commodity of the '90s."

It is true that members of the working class have very little free time. Real wages are dropping overall, and dollar wages are dropping for many, while the cost of supporting a family has risen. No longer can the average family be supported by 40 hours of labor a week. Now it takes 50 or sometimes over 100 hours a week to do the job, and requires that both parents work for wages to pay the bills. All this extra time devoted to bringing in money does not reduce the amount of work needed to make a home reasonably comfortable to live in, or the time and effort it takes to forge a group of individuals into a family. These things take place in a worker's "spare" time. No wonder people have so little leisure.

This Cleveland bank has decided that time is a commodity, and that banks have the right to sell it. The bank obviously considers it unimportant that this particular "commodity" was stolen from the targeted customers in the first place.

However, this theft of time is important to the working class. The capitalist class steals more and more of the value of our labor, saps our energy and destroys our family ties, by confiscating our time. Now it wants to sell some of this time back to us -- at a profit, of course. What a scam! They steal our very lives from us and then try to sell it back to us, a piece at a time! This is such an old game -- to steal from a person and then sell the stolen goods back to the victim. Agents of the law used to hang people for doing exactly that. But in a capitalist society, the law is a servant of the ruling class, and such crimes go unpunished.

What are we to do? If we managed to "reform" this particular bank, or even put it out of business altogether, the situation would not change. Another corporation, every bit as criminal, would take its place.

What we need to do is to get rid of the capitalist system that depends on this type of theft to support profits.

What we need to do is take control of the economy and design it according to socialist principles. Then we could all work much less than we do now, still produce enough to supply our needs and have time left over to devote to that neglected activity -- living.