Pietro Basso: Modern Times, Ancient Hours: Working Lives in the Twenty-First Century

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Fri Jun 06 2003 - 03:33:15 EDT

Dear Riccardo, Ernesto and others:
Is Pietro related to Lelio? The book does not seem to have yet been
released in the US.

Modern Times, Ancient Hours: Working Lives in the Twenty-First Century
by Pietro Basso, Giacomo Donis (Translator)

Product Details

     * Hardcover: 288 pages
     * Publisher: Verso Books; (June 2003)
     * ISBN: 1859845657
     * Amazon.com Sales Rank: 2,487,695

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
It is a commonly expressed view that the sickness of our society is
unemployment. Less frequently argued is the fact that we are, at the
same time, suffering from overwork. It is even more rare to hear that
the two sicknesses, unemployment and overwork, feed off one another
and jointly attack the working classes worldwide.

In Modern Times, Ancient Hours Pietro Basso argues convincingly that
the average working time of wage labourers is more intense,
fast-paced, flexible, and longer than at any period in recent
history. This is true, he posits, not only in industry and
agriculture, but also, and particularly, in the service industry. In
this comprehensive survey of all the Western countries, not just the
US, he demonstrates that extraordinary work pressure is increasing
throughout. The introduction of the thirty-five-hour working week in
France notwithstanding, all the signs of a creeping deterioration in
the working lives of millions of people are explored: a reduction in
the purchasing power of wages, the mass downsizing of corporations,
the continual erosion of company and state-ensured benefits, and
finally the availability of much cheaper labour from Latin America,
Asia, Africa and eastern Europe.

The only sensible response is a renewal of the working-class
struggle. Modern Times, Ancient Hours forcefully reminds us that the
human aspiration to do work that does not break the body or the
spirit is universal and deep-rooted. Workers will rise, Basso argues,
if they continue to be pushed beyond their limits.

About the Author
Pietro Basso is Professor of Sociology at the University of Venice.

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