Workaholism, Leisure and Pleasure - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Facsimile messages, electronic mail, other forms of digital data,repparttar Internet - broke not only physical barriers but also temporal ones. Today, virtual offices are not only spatially virtual - but also temporally so. This means that workers can collaborate not only across continents but also across time zones. They can leave their work for someone else to continue in an electronic mailbox, for instance.

These technological advances precipitatedrepparttar 132677 transmutation ofrepparttar 132678 very concepts of "work" and "workplace". The three Aristotelian dramatic unities no longer applied. Work could be performed in different places, not simultaneously, by workers who worked part time whenever it suited them best.

Flextime and work from home replaced commuting (much more so inrepparttar 132679 Anglo-Saxon countries, but they have always beenrepparttar 132680 harbingers of change). This fitted squarely intorepparttar 132681 social fragmentation which characterizes today's world:repparttar 132682 disintegration of previously cohesive social structures, such asrepparttar 132683 nuclear (not to mentionrepparttar 132684 extended) family.

All this was neatly wrapped inrepparttar 132685 ideology of individualism, presented as a private case of capitalism and liberalism. People were encouraged to feel and behave as distinct, autonomous units. The perception of individuals as islands replacedrepparttar 132686 former perception of humans as cells in an organism.

This trend was coupled with - and enhanced by - unprecedented successive multi-annual rises in productivity and increases in world trade. New management techniques, improved production technologies, innovative inventory control methods, automatization, robotization, plant modernization, telecommunications (which facilitates more efficient transfers of information), even new design concepts - all helped bring this about.

But productivity gains made humans redundant. No amount of retraining could cope withrepparttar 132687 incredible rate of technological change. The more technologically advancedrepparttar 132688 country -repparttar 132689 higher its structural unemployment (i.e.,repparttar 132690 level of unemployment attributable to changes inrepparttar 132691 very structure ofrepparttar 132692 market).

In Western Europe, it shot up from 5-6% ofrepparttar 132693 workforce to 9% in one decade. One way to manage this flood of ejected humans was to cutrepparttar 132694 workweek. Another was to support a large population of unemployed. The third, more tacit, way was to legitimize leisure time. Whereasrepparttar 132695 Jewish and Protestant work ethics condemned idleness inrepparttar 132696 past -repparttar 132697 current ethos encouraged people to contribute torepparttar 132698 economy through "self realization", to pursue their hobbies and non-work related interests, and to expressrepparttar 132699 entire range of their personality and potential.

This served to blurrepparttar 132700 historical differences between work and leisure. They are both commended now. Work, like leisure, became less and less structured and rigid. It is often pursued from home. The territorial separation between "work-place" and "home turf" was essentially eliminated.


Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

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Notes on the Economics of Game Theory - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

We can use Game Theory methods to analyse both these situations. Wherever we have economic players bargaining forrepparttar allocation of scarce resources in order to attain their utility functions, to securerepparttar 132675 outcomes and consequences (the value,repparttar 132676 preference, thatrepparttar 132677 player attaches to his outcomes) which are right for them we can use Game Theory (GT).

A short recap ofrepparttar 132678 basic tenets ofrepparttar 132679 theory might be in order.

GT deals with interactions between agents, whether conscious and intelligent or Dennettic. A Dennettic Agent (DA) is an agent that acts so as to influencerepparttar 132680 future allocation of resources, but does not need to be either conscious or deliberative to do so. A Game isrepparttar 132681 set of acts committed by 1 to n rational DA and one a-rational (not irrational but devoid of rationality) DA (nature, a random mechanism). At least 1 DA in a Game must controlrepparttar 132682 result ofrepparttar 132683 set of acts andrepparttar 132684 DAs must be (at least potentially) at conflict, whole or partial. This is not to say that allrepparttar 132685 DAs aspire torepparttar 132686 same things. They have different priorities and preferences. They rankrepparttar 132687 likely outcomes of their acts differently. They engage Strategies to obtain their highest ranked outcome. A Strategy is a vector, which detailsrepparttar 132688 acts, with whichrepparttar 132689 DA will react in response to allrepparttar 132690 (possible) acts byrepparttar 132691 other DAs. An agent is said to be rational if his Strategy does guaranteerepparttar 132692 attainment of his most preferred goal. Nature is involved by assigning probabilities torepparttar 132693 outcomes. An outcome, therefore, is an allocation of resources resulting fromrepparttar 132694 acts ofrepparttar 132695 agents. An agent is said to controlrepparttar 132696 situation if its acts matter to others torepparttar 132697 extent that at least one of them is forced to alter at least one vector (Strategy). The Consequence torepparttar 132698 agent isrepparttar 132699 value of a function that assigns real numbers to each ofrepparttar 132700 outcomes. The consequence represents a list of outcomes, prioritized, ranked. It is also known as an ordinal utility function. Ifrepparttar 132701 function includes relative numerical importance measures (not only real numbers) we call it a Cardinal Utility Function.


Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at

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