In the March 22, 2004, issue of Newsweek, columnist Robert J. Samuelson notes the wealthier a society gets, the more it complains about lack of time. He says we are concerned about “the ‘time squeeze’—the sense that we’re more harried than ever. We all know this is true: We’re tugged by jobs, family, PTA and soccer. Actually, it’s not true. People go to work later in life and retire earlier. Housework has declined. One survey found that in 1999 only 14 percent of wives did more than four hours of daily housework; the figure was 43 percent in 1977 and 87 percent in 1924. Even when jobs and housework are combined, total work hours for men and women have dropped.

“Still, people gripe—and griping rises with income, report economists Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jungmin Lee of the University of Arkansas. They studied the United States, Germany, Australia, Canada and South Korea. People who were otherwise statistically similar (same age, working hours, number of children) complained more about the ‘time squeeze’ as their incomes rose. Hamermesh and Lee’s explanation: The more money people have, the more things they can do with their time; time becomes more valuable, and people increasingly resent that they can’t create more of it.”

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