TED Conversations

Ed Barrett

Writer / Director,

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Is the world's major problem that we are simply doing too much work?

The work we do and the way we do it is damaging the environment, through the production of waste products that poison the environment directly, cause climate change, etc. It is also damaging to societies, through free market economics increasing the gap between rich and poor. A vast amount of the work done produces nothing of real value - perhaps the most obvious examples taking place in the financial sector; but even in manufacturing, we are making things we don't need. We don't need the ten-bladed razor, it is no improvement on the nine-bladed razor, or the eight-bladed, even the three-bladed razor worked just fine, and isn't worn out yet. We don't need the ever-smaller music-player when if we have a good look, we will find ten of its ancestors still in the house, still in working condition, still capable of playing the same songs. We are working longer hours after taking out credit we don't need to buy things we don't need, and we getting so far ahead of ourselves we are no longer just ruining our grandchildren's future, or our own children's future, but the very world in which we live today. We need a global strike, not just as a once-in-a-lifetime event, but every week. We could swap the duration of the week and the weekend, and make the world a better place. Many of us would then choose to volunteer to work for an extra day, an extra afternoon, even an extra hour; and if enough of us did, we could improve the quality of life for our own communities, and communities around the world.

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    Mar 7 2011: 2 days work a week - wonderful idea - 15 days holiday a year - could live with that!
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    Mar 4 2011: too much work in a much wrong direction caused by selfdelusions and unknowing our own nature.
    It leads to quality and lack of education. Know yourself - know the answers.