Well, I suppose that is one step better than being busted-flat and legless (or even like Bonnie Tyler: lost in France) ! But seriously folks sociologist Richard Sennett has an article in todays FT (and here in case of link rot) which is relevant to points being made by Marcelo in this post.
Sennett and his German counterpart Ulrich Beck are what you might call 'risk contrarians', they don't seem to like it, but more importantly they don't seem to understand what lies behind the perceived extra risk. Or rather, perhaps they think they do (globalisation), but then the problem starts precisely here, since isn't saying "hey things are getting more uncertain since we have faster technical change and increasingly global markets", a bit like saying "hey I'm getting wet coz it just started raining".
"..... stagnation has become intertwined with insecurity. Work has taken on a new character in recent decades for people in the middle; its risks are especially evident among those whose fortunes are tied to the “new economy” – cutting-edge, global businesses such as financial services, media and high-tech. They account for no more than 20 per cent of US and 15 per cent of British employment but in them, modern capitalism has concentrated its energies and defined its ideals."
"The new economy has reformulated workers’ experience of time. Long service and accumulated experience do not earn the rewards that more traditional companies once provided. Instead, cutting-edge businesses want young employees who can work long hours; the “youth premium” works against older employees with multiple responsibilities. Dynamic companies have also shortened the time-frame of work itself; jobs are defined as short-lived projects rather than permanent functions. In media, mid-level employees can expect increasingly to work on six or even three-month contracts, if there are contracts at all. Throughout the “new economy”, companies are rapidly changing business focus and identity in response to shifting global market conditions."
Now don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm unsymathetic to the problems that many people are facing. What I don't get is how anyone thinks you are going to turn the clock back, or why anyone in India or China or Brazil would think that you should. If Marcelo's central argument worked, it should be this middle income , well educated group who should be most amenable to using high-tech plug-ins, but if you read Sennett carefully you'll see that this is precisely one group which won't be amongst the early adopters. Rather than go down the road which Marcelo is advocating (and rightly so on my view) the most effected seem to be putting in more hours rather than 'enhancing' the hours they already spend:
Many discussions of “work-life balance” focus on the lengthening time employees now spend on the job; in Britain, the European champion, working and commuting is edging up to 11 hours daily. The people we interviewed have found various effective ways to deal with these family-time deficits; they encounter more trouble managing the unreliability of work as a source of family support. That both men and women worry about failing their families was a key finding – this spectre once haunted manual labourers but has now migrated to the middle-class. Manual labourers had strong unions to turn to; white-collar unions are weak or non-existent in the new economy.