Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do We Live to Work or Work to Live? Lessons of the Recent French Riots

Fr Marc DeGirolami (St. John's) discusses over on ProfsBlawg an article by Robert Redeker in Le Monde.  Redeker argues that the current French outcry over raising the the retirement age should be understood in the context of a general French tendency to mythologize retirement generally, as a Candidian (not Canadian) earthly paradise (70 virgins? in retirement?) where the best of life will be concentrated.  Redeker argues that this false vision of retirement renders the populace more docile about social ills such as inequality, exploitation, and submission: the promise of retirement "erodes social progress" because people are holding out for a future that will never come.

DeGirolami takes Redeker to task for idolizing work in the same way that he claims the French masses idolize retirement.  For the vast majority of working people,

work is not eminently fulfilling, joyful, or an occasion to seek out grand social improvements.  Work is what you do to live and support your family...  The fact that work is sometimes (hopefully often) deeply fulfilling and pleasurable for academics -- or that many academics do believe that their work is connected to the search for social improvement -- is ... a luxury of the academic life.


International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor and Employment News, Pension and Benefits | Permalink

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