Take vacation time as just one example of resolutely denial-bound and unevolved U.S. culture; and remember, if you get sick, be sure to enjoy your vacation, puking your guts out, because that sick time is taken out of your paid time off (PTO), too. We don't even call it "vacation" any more because you're not entitled to any, whatsoever.
Productivity Dividends: DENIED.
If you're in the bottom 90% ... and, um, 90% of us ARE, we are to be grateful for our ever dwindling little pot of PTO. Vacation? Don't make me laugh. You want to become like those LAZY FRENCH people, I suppose. Yep, they look pretty LAZY to me.
For centuries we've been taught in Economics 101 that technology improves efficiencies which yield ever increasing productivity and productivity dividends. Labor saving after labor saving devices and methods have accrued for hundreds of years, yet, there is no saving of labor's fate. Ever.
We're not talking about people getting something for nothing, for heaven knows the permanent heirs of the American aristocracy will have none of that, we're talking about the people who created the dividends, sharing proportionately in the dividends.
No labor saving productivity dividend is ever declared and distributed to shareholders: you and me. Such dividends are only ever hoarded and squandered by the top 5%, 2%, 1%. The smaller the percentage, the more pathological the hoarding. It is, ipso facto, clinically pathological, even functionally sociopathic when one measures the dire fate of so many as the direct consequence of the behavior of so few. A sociopath is a person, a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
This will sound all too familiar to today's prevalent American 19th Century Industrial Capitalist Culture, which obliviously shrugs and says, "so?"
Sociopathological cultures kill through the Invisible Hand of a twisted and brutal wage slave tyrant. Today the brutality is reaching all new extremes, but because it is the Invisible Hand of the almighty market at work, there is no one to blame when high school children in Palo Alto are killing themselves in packs, jumping in front of trains, as the pressures of conformity to this pathological culture of hoarding and false scarcity mount to all time highs. What more evidence do you need, America?
You are literally killing your best and brightest youth. They know that they can't exist in such a soulless society. So they choose their only out. If they could move, they probably would; but their tragically heartbroken parents have become analogies for you, America. You probably truly do love your children. You probably have done your best. However, the Entire Environment in which you've been operating is Terminally Toxic.
If the entire culture is not changed, nothing you do or could have done, will ever save yourselves or your children. I share the devastation of your loss.
For those not so compassionate, no, the infinite iPods and PSP's were not enough to "satisfy the little spoiled brats" if that's the unconscionably cruel path of reasoning you'd like to take in response to this terrible situation; and I know you are out there, I've heard your conversations. You are poor and disenfranchised and bitter; told you are in the "middle class" even as you are numbered among the bottom 80% of Americans who scramble and claw to share just 8% of the economic pie in this country.
Yet, those children are human beings, random victims of the fate of their births just, as are you. No one deserve such a fate. So while I identify with the bitterness of the bottom 80%, I do not condone twisted and cruel interpretations of such unthinkable human tragedy.
There is, however, an abiding and ascendant message in the growing numbers of these situations: if we don't find a path to sustainable postscarcity, all the manufactured crap in the world will never save us. All of the hoarded and accrued wealth will never save us.
We are literally crushing ourselves and our children under the weight of our own avaricious abundance.With nothing but the most crushing pain for those families in my own heart of hearts, I must honor the sanctity of those magnificent lives by stating that:
Those trains are the very embodiment of the culture that created them, a nineteenth century culture that we continue to cling to with all the fervent faith of the most sincere Stockholm Syndrome devotee.
Perhaps this is just one empirical consequence of your pathological inbred hoarding of your mythological Productivity Dividend, America. Yet, when canonical publications like MarketWatch write that "Vacation-day allotment varies widely by country" and that "some workers enjoy eight weeks off per year; U.S. near bottom of list" the message in the title tag text is:
"Want more time off? Move ..."
"If you don't like it, move."
This is "MARE-ick-uh" mister, we don't compare notes with other nations that might have one hundred times the broadband at one tenth the price; we don't compare notes with other cultures that have found sustainable work-life balances; we don't compare notes with NOBODY.
Don't like it? Move!
And that's precisely what America's best and brightest have been doing and continue to do.