The Politics of Austerity and the Ikarian Dream

Great blog post! I wanted to write something similar when I saw the New York Times article about Ikaria, the Greek island where “people forget to die.” The very things that allow these people to live long, happy, healthy lives, are the things that “Western” culture is killing through its brutal economic policies.

slackerpolitics

As a longtime fan of the leisurely aspect of European culture, I am always thrilled whenever it makes its way onto the radar screens of Americans, who are, it’s clear, grievously overworked by comparison. Too often, images of Europe are portrayed in the context of a grim new discursive “common sense” about the European lifestyle that say it is a) an unsustainable anachronism and b) onerous and not something Americans would want anyway. When more celebratory images of Euroleisure emerge, I like to think that Americans wonder why we can’t have what European workers have successfully pressed for – long vacations, relatively short hours of work, and the generous social wage that makes free time enjoyable rather than stressful. And when Americans start asking themselves these questions, all kinds of liberatory possibilities open up. In the context of the current continental battle over austerity, which is more than anything a…

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