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Modern Times, Ancient Hours

Working Lives in the Twenty-first Century



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Modern Times, Ancient Hours by Pietro Basso
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It is a commonly expressed view that the sickness of our society is unemployment. Less frequently argued is the fact that we are, at the same time, suffering from overwork. It is even more rare to hear that the two sicknesses, unemployment and overwork, feed off one another and jointly attack the working classes worldwide. In Modern Times, Ancient Hours Pietro Basso argues convincingly that the average working time of wage labourers is more intense, fast-paced, flexible, and longer than at any period in recent history. This is true, he posits, not only in industry and agriculture, but also, and particularly, in the service industry. In this comprehensive survey of all the Western countries, not just the US, he demonstrates that extraordinary work pressure is increasing throughout. The introduction of the thirty-five-hour working week in France notwithstanding, all the signs of a creeping deterioration in the working lives of millions of people are explored: a reduction in the purchasing power of wages, the mass downsizing of corporations, the continual erosion of company and state-ensured benefits, and finally the availability of much cheaper labour from Latin America, Asia, Africa

Author Biography

Pietro Basso is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Masters course in Immigration at the University of Venice, Italy. His works include Disoccupati e stato (The Unemployed and the State), Razze schiave e razze signore: Vecchi e nuovi razzismi (Slave Races and Master Races: Racism Past and Present), and, co-editied with F. Perocco, Immigrazione a trsformazione della societa (Immigration and the Transformation of Society).
Release date NZ
June 12th, 2003
Translated by Giacomo Donis
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Verso Books
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