Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you Reuters.com August 29, 2013
link to blogs.reuters.com
Life for the medieval peasant was certainly no picnic. His life was shadowed by fear of famine, disease and bursts of warfare. His diet and personal hygiene left much to be desired. But despite his reputation as a miserable wretch, you might envy him one thing: his vacations.
Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off. The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment. There were labor-free Sundays, and when the plowing and harvesting seasons were over, the peasant got time to rest, too. In fact, economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year.
As for the modern American worker? After a year on the job, she gets an average of eight vacation days annually.
It wasn't supposed to turn out this way: John Maynard Keynes, one of the founders of modern economics, made a famous prediction that by 2030, advanced societies would be wealthy enough that leisure time, rather than work, would characterize national lifestyles. So far, that forecast is not looking good.
Congressman Alan Grayson proposed the Paid Vacation Act of 2009, but alas, the bill didn't even make it to the floor of Congress.
Speaking of Congress, its members seem to be the only people in America getting as much down time as the medieval peasant. They get 239 days off this year.
(If you want to change this, get the simplest form of score voting. Not Rockefeller sponsored IRV.)
Oh let's face it, you're not going to get it...