Workaholism, Leisure and Pleasure - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


The official working week has been reduced to 35 hours a week in France. In most countries inrepparttar world, it is limited to 45 hours a week. The trend duringrepparttar 132677 last century seems to be unequivocal: less work, more play.

Yet, what may be true for blue collar workers or state employees - is not necessarily so for white collar members ofrepparttar 132678 liberal professions. It is not rare for these people - lawyers, accountants, consultants, managers, academics - to put in 80 hour weeks.

The phenomenon is so widespread and its social consequences so damaging that it has acquiredrepparttar 132679 unflattering nickname workaholism, a combination ofrepparttar 132680 words "work" and "alcoholism". Family life is disrupted, intellectual horizons narrow,repparttar 132681 consequences torepparttar 132682 workaholic's health are severe: fat, lack of exercise, stress - all take their lethal toll. Classified as "alpha" types, workaholics suffer three times as many heart attacks as their peers.

But what arerepparttar 132683 social and economic roots of this phenomenon?

Put succinctly, it isrepparttar 132684 outcome ofrepparttar 132685 blurring of boundaries between work and leisure. This distinction between time dedicated to labour and time spent inrepparttar 132686 pursuit of one's hobbies - was so clear for thousands of years that its gradual disappearance is one ofrepparttar 132687 most important and profound social changes in human history.

A host of other shifts inrepparttar 132688 character of work and domestic environments of humans converged to produce this momentous change. Arguablyrepparttar 132689 most important wasrepparttar 132690 increase in labour mobility andrepparttar 132691 fluid nature ofrepparttar 132692 very concept of work andrepparttar 132693 workplace.

The transitions from agriculture to industry, then to services, and now torepparttar 132694 knowledge society, increasedrepparttar 132695 mobility ofrepparttar 132696 workforce. A farmer isrepparttar 132697 least mobile. His means of production are fixed, his produce mostly consumed locally - especially in places which lack proper refrigeration, food preservation, and transportation.

A marginal group of people became nomad-traders. This group exploded in size withrepparttar 132698 advent ofrepparttar 132699 industrial revolution. True,repparttar 132700 bulk ofrepparttar 132701 workforce was still immobile and affixed torepparttar 132702 production floor. But raw materials and finished products travelled long distances to faraway markets. Professional services were needed andrepparttar 132703 professional manager,repparttar 132704 lawyer,repparttar 132705 accountant,repparttar 132706 consultant,repparttar 132707 trader,repparttar 132708 broker - all emerged as both parasites feeding offrepparttar 132709 production processes andrepparttar 132710 indispensable oil on its cogs.

The protagonists ofrepparttar 132711 services society were no longer geographically dependent. They rendered their services to a host of geographically distributed "employers" in a variety of ways. This trend accelerated today, withrepparttar 132712 advent ofrepparttar 132713 information and knowledge revolution.

Knowledge is not geography-dependent. It is easily transferable across boundaries. It is cheaply reproduced. Its ephemeral quality gives it non-temporal and non-spatial qualities. The locations ofrepparttar 132714 participants inrepparttar 132715 economic interactions of this new age are transparent and immaterial.

These trends converged with increased mobility of people, goods and data (voice, visual, textual and other). The twin revolutions of transportation and telecommunications really reducedrepparttar 132716 world to a global village. Phenomena like commuting to work and multinationals were first made possible.

Notes on the Economics of Game Theory - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Consider this:

Could Western management techniques be successfully implemented inrepparttar countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)? Granted, they have to be adapted, modified and cannot be imported in their entirety. But their crux, their inalienable nucleus can this be transported and transplanted in CEE? Theory provides us with a positive answer. Human agents arerepparttar 132675 same everywhere and are mostly rational. Practice begs to differ. Basic concepts such asrepparttar 132676 money value of time orrepparttar 132677 moral and legal meaning of property are non existent. The legal, political and economic environments are all unpredictable. As a result, economic players will prefer to maximize their utility immediately (steal fromrepparttar 132678 workplace, for instance) than to wait for longer term (potentially, larger) benefits. Warrants (stock options) convertible torepparttar 132679 company's shares constitute a strong workplace incentive inrepparttar 132680 West (because there is an horizon and they increaserepparttar 132681 employee's welfare inrepparttar 132682 long term). Whererepparttar 132683 future is speculation speculation withers. Stock options or a small stake in his firm, will only encouragerepparttar 132684 employee to blackmailrepparttar 132685 other shareholders by paralysingrepparttar 132686 firm, to abuse his new position and will be interpreted as immunity, conferred from above, fromrepparttar 132687 consequences of illegal activities. The very allocation of options or shares will be interpreted as a sign of weakness, dependence and need, to be exploited. Hierarchy is equated with slavery and employees will rather harm their long term interests than follow instructions or be subjected to criticism never mind how constructive. The employees in CEE regardrepparttar 132688 corporate environment as a conflict zone, a zero sum game (in whichrepparttar 132689 gains by some equalrepparttar 132690 losses to others). Inrepparttar 132691 West,repparttar 132692 employees participate inrepparttar 132693 increase inrepparttar 132694 firm's value. The difference between these attitudes is irreconcilable.

Now, let us consider this:

An entrepreneur is a person who is gifted at identifyingrepparttar 132695 unsatisfied needs of a market, at mobilizing and organizingrepparttar 132696 resources required to satisfy those needs and at defining a long-term strategy of development and marketing. Asrepparttar 132697 enterprise grows, two processes combine to denuderepparttar 132698 entrepreneur of some of his initial functions. The firm has ever growing needs for capital: financial, human, assets and so on. Additionally,repparttar 132699 company begins (or should begin) to interface and interact with older, better established firms. Thus,repparttar 132700 company is forced to create its first management team: a general manager withrepparttar 132701 right doses of respectability, connections and skills, a chief financial officer, a host of consultants and so on. In theory if all our properly motivated financially all these players (entrepreneurs and managers) will seek to maximizerepparttar 132702 value ofrepparttar 132703 firm. What happens, in reality, is that both work to minimize it, each for its own reasons. The managers seek to maximize their short-term utility by securing enormous pay packages and other forms of company-dilapidating compensation. The entrepreneurs feel that they are "strangled", "shackled", "held back" by bureaucracy and they "rebel". They oustrepparttar 132704 management, or undermine it, turning it into an ineffective representative relic. They assume real, though informal, control ofrepparttar 132705 firm. They do so by defining a new set of strategic goals forrepparttar 132706 firm, which call forrepparttar 132707 institution of an entrepreneurial rather than a bureaucratic type of management. These cycles of initiative-consolidation-new initiative-revolution-consolidation arerepparttar 132708 dynamos of company growth. Growth leads to maximization of value. However,repparttar 132709 players don't know or do not fully believe that they are inrepparttar 132710 process of maximizingrepparttar 132711 company's worth. Onrepparttar 132712 contrary, consciously,repparttar 132713 managers say: "Let's maximizerepparttar 132714 benefits that we derive from this company, as long as we are still here." The entrepreneurs-owners say: "We cannot tolerate this stifling bureaucracy any longer. We prefer to have a smaller company but all ours." The growth cycles forcesrepparttar 132715 entrepreneurs to dilute their holdings (in order to raiserepparttar 132716 capital necessary to finance their initiatives). This dilution (the fracturing ofrepparttar 132717 ownership structure) is what bringsrepparttar 132718 last cycle to its end. The holdings ofrepparttar 132719 entrepreneurs are too small to materialize a coup againstrepparttar 132720 management. The management then prevails andrepparttar 132721 entrepreneurs are neutralized and move on to establish another start-up. The only thing that they leave behind them is their names and their heirs.

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