On May 29, 1871, the engineers of Newcastle, England went on strike for a nine-hour day. “Jobs, Liberty and the Bottom Line” draws on several narratives arising out of the strike and the lives of its participants to frame an investigation of the historical debate over shorter working time and its prime aspiration, disposable time for workers. This study has a practical purpose: to outline a strategy for overcoming the policy impasse that has plagued the reduction of working time in North America since the end of World War II and for disengaging from an ecologically unsustainable fixation on compulsory economic growth.
Tom Walker is an independent scholar and activist who lives in Vancouver, Canada. He blogs at Ecological Headstand: <ecologicalheadstand.blogspot.com>.