‘Guy Standing’s books have, over the years, pieced together a necessary political and intellectual agenda … His Politics of Time is a splendid and timely addition to this body of important work’ Yanis Varoufakis
Time has always been political. Throughout history, how we use our time has been defined and controlled by the powerful, and today is no exception. But we can reclaim control, and in this book, the pioneering economist Guy Standing shows us how.
The ancient Greeks organised time into five categories: work, labour, recreation, leisure and contemplation. Labour was onerous, whereas leisure was schole, and included participation in public life and lifelong education. Since the industrial revolution, our time has been shaped by capitalism, our jobs are supposed to provide all meaning in life, our time outside labour is considered simply ‘time off’, and politicians prioritise jobs above all other aspects of a good life.
Today, we are experiencing the age of chronic uncertainty. Mental illness is on the rise, some people are experiencing more time freedom while many others are having more and more of their time stolen from them, particularly the vulnerable and those in the precariat.
But there is a way forward. We can create a new politics of time, one that liberates us and helps save the planet, through strengthening real leisure and working together through commoning. We can retake control of our time, but we must do it together.