Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Corporate Suicides in France

About 24 employees of France Télécom have killed themselves in the past 18 months, and most of them have been tied directly to the workplace environment, and particularly insecurity and stress. The story has been well-covered in France, and the NYT has a piece in English on what has become a huge story about the effects of workplace unhappiness that underlies the bollocks about "lifetime employment" and how good everybody with a job really has it.

Productivity gains are often attributed to technology, but the are more likely to come from overwork and other conditions that cause stress.  The U.S. professional workforce has more or less abandoned the 40 hour week - and they don't get paid for extra hours.  The toll on quality of life is basically ignored, because in the post-Cold War period quality of life has taken a back seat to sheer production, growth, and wealth as the measures of all things, drowning out peoples' voices and actual experiences that should be making the rules and not the other way around.

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