De Botton on productivity versus lunch breaks

When you think of a productive economy you’re thinking of an anxious economy. You’re looking at many, many people who are afraid about hanging on to their places. You can either lead a simple life—the Jeffersonian ideal of the independent farmer with his simple log cabin. Or you can lead a city life. It’s your choice. I guess a Marxist would say that in the ideal future we would have a noble feudal community and high technology at the same time. But on the whole I think it’s perceived as a choice. Productivity and GNP are linked to the anxieties of many, many individual workers. An economy like that of France—a so-called “unproductive economy”—is in a way a more relaxed economy. Any given country will be successful at some things and unsuccessful at others. France may be somewhat unsuccessful economically, but it’s successful in its long lunch break. There’s that choice.

One thought on “De Botton on productivity versus lunch breaks”

  1. Well, if you’re suffering from the abnormally high youth unemployment rate, your lunch won’t be quite as relaxed. If you’re sitting down to couscous, chances are those unionised, state-owned employers probably won’t give you a job to take a lunch break from in the first place.

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