Time to Kill

A review of the article, “Time to Kill” Europe and the Politics of Leisure” by Steven Muller, which examines the efforts of Europe to reconstitute itself in the aftermath of the Cold War.

The paper outlines Muller’s main assertion that, within the most technologically advanced nations, a reversal is taking place between the social functions and values of labor and leisure that is already becoming increasingly apparent. The introduction of labor policies is discussed, such as job sharing, shorter working hours, and increased holiday entitlements, which may initially stem the tide of mass unemployment. However, the writer notes that the rate of unemployment in most European nations has already begun to climb. The paper presents the reasons why Western Europe, in particular, will suffer from this situation.
Official statistics support Muller’s assertion that, in the world’s most technologically advanced nations, a major change is occurring in the relationship between labor and leisure. As a result of technological advancement, the requirement for human labor is decreasing and the amount of leisure time is increasing. I support the author’s claims that, of these nations, those within Western Europe are least likely to be able to cope effectively with the inevitable economic, social, and political difficulties. This support is based on the fact that, unlike nations such as the United States or Japan, the countries of Western Europe continue to be constrained by state intervention, inflexible and costly welfare systems, and a value system that is based on the traditions of class conflict and liberalism.