Griffith Review 81: The Leisure Principle

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In 1930, John Maynard Keynes spelt out a vision of the impending utopia. Work, he said, will become a thing of the past. ‘For the first time since creation,’ he predicted, ‘man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem — how to occupy the leisure which science…will have won for him.’

So where did this vision of future past go? Like baco-foil suits and meals of protein pills, it proved to be a concept that withered on the vine. Instead of an excess of free time to be enjoyed at leisure, a radically different regime now dominates the developed nations: the leisure principle.

The leisure principle is one of work hard to play hard, a rigorous pursuit of monetarised hedonism: YOLO, live your best life, have a good time all the time.

From the ecstasy of the digital to the monied spectacle that is sport, the gamification of everyday life to the flourishing hierarchy of influencers, Griffith Review 81: The Leisure Principle sets out to scrutinise the terms and conditions of this contemporary compact and consider how we came to cede so much just to amuse ourselves to death.