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In Praise of Idleness by and Bertrand Russell

            In his essay, "In Praise of Idleness," Bertrand Russell identifies the crucial socio-economic problem as half the population being overworked and the other half having little, or no, work. The logical remedy would be to divide the working hours and ensure employment for the whole population, which however, would in turn provide a great amount of leisure time for everyone. The issue then shifts into a cultural one. The climate of thought and beliefs runs contrary to logic, and has roots deeply embedded into "virtues" of individual industry, competitiveness, and receiving only what you earn. It is another case of precedence. Since society has always worked in such fashion, it ought to continue as such. This form of thinking is pernicious in our age of advanced technology where the world continues to experience transformations at an ever accelerating pace. It is not merely the values of the general population which inhibit a society where things are run intelligently, from the distribution of labor to social equality. Russell explicates how the sheer thought of "leisure for the poor" invokes paroxysms in the upper class. He relates through anecdotal experience, as he recalled a Duchess once said 'What do the poor want to do with holidays? They ought to work." In no small shape or form does this form of prejudice and self-justified privilege obstruct the realization of a decent society which brings happiness across the population as opposed to congregating it in the hands of the privileged, lucky few.
             My own country of Indonesia is experiencing a surge of administrators who sincerely care about its people. It is oft lamented that the children of the rich upper class have seldom, if ever, seen the slums. Considering the fact that they are the people likely to become the societal leaders of the future, this does not bode well for effective democratic administration. The abyss of disconnect between the reality of the population and the elite minority is a result of the massive social dislocations in the last century.

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