Friday, March 9, 2007

The Poor Have More Free Time?

I suppose my hackles are raised over definitions. Steven Landsburg is writing about an economic study that states that income gains of the educated rich have outpaced those of the poor, but that the poor have more free time than the rich and have gained more free time.

It's because a friend lent me Barbra Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Ehrenreich goes "undercover" working in the jobs she can get not with her real resume, but with the resume of a single woman with no college degree and no experience. Her descriptions of working for minimum wage (or slightly more) and needing more than one full-time job to support herself don't sound anything like someone who has tons of extra leisure time. Ehrenrich's description of the working poor sound more like reality than Landsburg's. Perhaps Landsburg is describing someone on the upper ends of the lower-class, but not the working poor. An Ehrenreich "vicious circle" theme is the struggle to find affordable housing within commuting distances of the multiple jobs needed to afford housing. Free time barely comes up, or comes up in the context of complete exhaustion.

An economic mystery: Why do the poor seem to have more free time than the rich? - By Steven E. Landsburg - Slate Magazine

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