Recent debates about inequality have focused almost exclusively on the distribution of wealth and disparities in income, but little notice has been paid to the distribution of free time. Free time is commonly assumed to be a matter of personal preference, a good that one chooses to have more or less of. Even if there is unequal access to free time, the cause and solution are presumed to lie with the resources of income and wealth. In Free Time, Julie Rose argues that these views are fundamentally mistaken. First, Rose contends that free time is a resource, like money, that one needs in order to pursue chosen ends. Further, realizing a just distribution of income and wealth is not sufficient to ensure a fair distribution of free time. Because of this, anyone concerned with distributive justice must attend to the distribution of free time.
On the basis of widely held liberal principles, Rose explains why citizens are entitled to free time—time not committed to meeting life's necessities and instead available for chosen pursuits. The novel argument that the just society must guarantee all citizens their fair share of free time provides principled grounds to address critical policy choices, including work hours regulations, Sunday closing laws, public support for caregiving, and the pursuit of economic growth.
Delving into an original topic that touches everyone, Free Time demonstrates why all citizens have, in the words of early labor reformers, a right to "hours for what we will."
Julie L. Rose is assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College.
"Methodically and insightfully, [Rose] dismantles the assertion . . . that we all choose our leisure patterns. . . . Highly recommended."--Karen Shook, Times Higher Education
"Free Time is well written and well argued. It contends that theories of distributive justice should think of free time as a resource all citizens should have in order to pursue their conception of the good. Few theories of distributive justice have discussed this matter and this book fills an important gap in the literature."--Jeff Spinner-Halev, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
"With uncommon clarity and analytical rigor, Rose succeeds in making the issue of free time philosophically compelling--and she persuades the reader that free time is a matter of justice, which implies that a just state must guarantee citizens a fair share. Rose's arguments cut to the heart of daily life and rearrange our conventional wisdom."--Rob Reich, Stanford University
Table of Contents:
1 Introduction 1
2 Leisure as a Specific Good 15
3 Free Time as a Resource 39
4 The Claim to Free Time 66
5 Shared Free Time 93
6 Free Time for Caregivers 112
7 Conclusion: Time for What We Will 127