Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Globalization is about culture as well as economics. The global spread of American culture is well known, but do we pay as much attention to the spread of the culture of capitalism? One of the most noted cultural changes wrought by the spread of capitalism has been the death of the siesta. The standardization of work and the control of production by capital means siestas are a luxury we simply can't afford -- or rather, a luxury the logic of production can't admit.

Now some in Portugal are fighting back. Members of a group dubbed "Association of Friends of the Siesta" are trying to get the mid-day nap signed into Portuguese law. Interestingly, they make their case not on the grounds of traditional culture, but on the grounds of capitalist productivity!
'The campaigners pointed to scientific studies, including one by Nasa, which showed that productivity increased by up to 34% after a mid-day nap. Writer Jose Agualusa blamed lack of sleep for many of the world's worst disasters, claiming US investigators had shown that "we are ruled by people who sleep badly and are proud of it." '
Capitalism really does run roughshod over all.

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