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Leisure Is Earned? [Leisure
Posted on August 26, 2015 @ 08:10:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I visited with a friend and discussed the concept of leisure (see my recent blogs on the concept of leisure) and asked him for his thoughts on the matter. He was fairly adamant that "leisure is earned". In his own case, he does handyman work for 10 clients for a couple of months and then comes back to his cabin in the woods for a couple of weeks or a month throughout the summer and fall. It is obvious that his living pattern follows the precept that leisure is earned.

I would have to agree that North American society often views leisure as time that people earn through their work. We often engage, or hope to engage in leisure activities after a day of work, or during our vacation time from work, or when we retire from work. We have "earned" this leisure time. Work creates a situation of "free time" with the economic resources to potentially enjoy that free time more than if we had not worked. We can go golfing, for example, if we earn this form of leisure through our work. We apparently need to build up economic capital to afford our leisure time - or so the story goes.

The idea that leisure is earned as a result of hard work is problematic in some ways. It makes leisure an after-work activity rather than something that might be a part of work we do (a style of work). It implicitly equates leisure with spending money but we can experience leisure without spending much money (i.e., going for a walk). It suggests that if we earn more we might have more leisure time when it might be the opposite; if we earned less we might have more leisure time.

I don't want to deny the obvious that leisure is earned because certain forms of costly leisure definitely require that we work to experience them. It is probably also true that working hard to get to a point of leisure might help to make that leisure more enjoyable than if that work had not been done. I don't think the idea that leisure is earned should be overstated, however, because your leisure is not simply earned by virtue of doing work. There are more elements that go into determining whether something should be called leisure than whether you earned it or not and these elements may be more important than whether you earned it or not.

It is interesting that if you google the phrase "leisure is earned" to see what others have said on the matter, the main result you get back are instructions on how to redeem your leisure-travel points. In a similar vein, work apparently gives you leisure points that you can redeem at a future date when you are not working.

I'll end this blog with this video on the relationship between income and leisure by a professor of economics. Leisure time can increase as wages increase. So you can theoretically earn more leisure time per day the more you make per hour according to this model.

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