2-2 | The Leisure Economy: How Changing Demographics, Economics, and Generational Attitudes Will Reshape Our Lives and Our Industries

Book Review

The Leisure Economy: How Changing Demographics, Economics, and Generational Attitudes Will Reshape Our Lives and Our Industries

Linda Nazareth
Mississaugua, Ont.: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., 2007. Graphs, index. 288 pp. $29.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780470840344

by Garry Chick

First Paragraph:

In the 1980s and 1990s, I taught a class of 200 to 250 students an Introduction to Leisure Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and often showed a film titled Leisure: Living with the 20– Hour Week. Produced in 1970, it heralded a new age of leisure with people working only twenty hours per week or maybe six months per year and having access to new kinds of resorts all over the world. Freedom and escape would be everywhere. The new era was scheduled to begin in the 1980s, and the profound changes that would usher it in were in the area of technology, specifically the mechanization and automation of work. The film had been created even before the introduction of useful personal computers such as the Apple II in 1977 and the IBM PC in 1981, but its various narrators boldly predicted the end of work as we know it. Machines, the film forecast, would be doing it all for us. Not only did the predictions fail to materialize, but by the mid-1980s, the film was simply silly. The predictions—as well as the clothes and hairstyles of those in the film—evoked peals of laughter in my classes. My point in showing the film was to illustrate the peril in making predictions. As someone once said, more or less (the quote has been attributed to a host of wits from Yogi Berra to Albert Einstein), “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”