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Forty Years with Birds and Dogs 

Family Time, Steady State Benefit #3

February 12,2013
"With a shorter work week, family members can spend more quality time...Children receive more attention..." Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill Enough Is Enough, p.200. Don't miss the whole story.

So what has this to do with the Hen House? It's about finding the gift of fresh eggs every morning and the satisfaction of building nests to make the hens happy enough to lay them for you (not hiding them in the wood pile). It's about time to sit on the bench beneath the ponderosas and watch the hens hunt and scratch, soaking up the safe time outside the pen with the dogs on guard. You could call it a prelude to localization, also recommended by steady state pundits. Urban chickens are growing in popularity these days--encouraging.

I can think of too many ways I could use more time: learning to paint, re-learning to play the piano, learning some Spanish, sharing some great books I've found, exploring ideas with friends over coffee, improving my tennis or bridge, playing some sandlot baseball again.

The point is that, with a cap on manufacturing to minimize throughput, the constant obsession with growing every business ceaselessly, with no real need, begins to seem wasteful of both time and resources. Businesses would do well to focus on service and quality, opportunities to provide job sharing, shorter work hours, specialty training and creative hand work to replace robotics, worker training and participation in management. If manufacturers were responsible for their products forever (as they are in some place), they could provide more jobs, like making parts for repairs, repairing the product, and recycling its every component.

Taking this one step further, if land, water, air, and underground resources were considered commons, not private property, the care and management of the land could be assigned to those who wanted to use it or live on it. This shift in responsibility would be a sure cure for boredom for people with shorter work hours. Could be a full-time job for some.

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