We Are Creatures of Habit

Honestely, what did they expect to find? Of course people travel the same routes day after day, frequent the same locations, and communicate with many of the same people. Habit seems too simplistic a term to describe what's happening here, however. Social relations seem to be one place to turn for an explanation, but digging deeper, economics is what these researchers are really observing.

Why do people travel the same route fairly consistently? Well, as my friend aptly put it: "I go home because that's where my stuff is. I go to work so I can buy more stuff." What's important to realize, however, is that though this is a charecteristic pattern that's likely to emerge to some degree in any economic system (that is, we are likely to still travel within a fairly limited degree of variation) it's one that is exaggerated in the capitalist economic order by a number of factors:

1) Capitalism requires long working hours that decrease "leisure" time in which we might travel or veer from our normal patterns.

2) We are typically confined to working in a specialized job with little chance for learning new skills or variation in our days.

3) We are constrained by the need to always be productive in order to provide for basic needs of survival. This decreases "leisure" time and also dictates the patterns in which we travel: work, home, work, home, etc.

There are many other factors at play here, of course, but Marx envisioned a socialist working environment that allowed for flexibility (a laborer might fish in the morning, weave baskets in the afternoon, and write a book in the evening...of course, update this for today's technology, but you get the picture) that capitalism simply cannot facilitate.

Just something to ponder...the patterns of our lives are governed by economic principles, i.e., capitalist economic principles.

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