The future of leisure

The one constant in life is change. You know, day becomes night, the young become the old, luxuries become everyday items. I recall watching the Jetsons in my childhood, last century, and wonder how far from reality their world might be. Technology is constantly changing, who back in the 1980s  would have imagined an iPhone? So as we change, as we master technology, what does that mean for leisure in the future? I thought I might put together some ideas of what it may be like, or more so what it should be like.

As we embrace more advances in technology, you’d hope we’d work less, having more leisure time. Thus in a future society premised on a collective, egalitarian system, you’d hopefully only need to work a 10-12 hour week, with society being able to provide a guaranteed social wage, with access to education, healthcare and housing.  Everyone should be then able to take part in their choices of leisure, be it individual or team based. We would have moved on from concepts like worrying about a work-life balance, as the specific social conditions benefit our imagination and its actualisation.

Communal activities bringing people together, not to compete, but to participate, as well as being beneficial for your health would play a large role. Large multi purpose communal sporting complexes, where you can travel on your modern mode of transport would bring people together, enhancing both the individuals and the society.  Swimming, boxing, drawing, music, and many more leisure activities would be about  benefitting for the well being of the participants, and their society. Leisure activities would move beyond being commodities.

A focus on health prevention would be important. As a health worker I see advances in how disease are treated, I see wellness being something we should all have, though I see impediments that block all of us achieving our optimum health. A healthier society , with healthier diets, as we combine the best foods nature produces, along side advances in science,  would enable us to have healthy food intakes  allowing us to participate in beneficial leisure activities .

As a “Mug Punter”, you’d still be able to have a flutter, though I doubt that the corporate bookies would be here. I recall seeing cartoons from the start of the early 20th century where the ‘socialist bookmaker’ offers the same odds on all runners. I can’t see that as being part of a future non-hierarchical society.  The structure of sporting clubs be it football, cricket, etc is something I am unclear of. But remember, in the words of the Clash,  “the future is unwritten.”

“How unrealistic is this ? Many of what are essentials today, like phones, cars, and Saturdays off were once deemed luxuries. Everything changes and by utilising technology to work for us, we increase our leisure time. In a highly developed, non- hierarchical, social system where advances in technology mean work  can be reduced to tasks such as optimising 3D printers, or programming our robots, leisure will be pivotal.

These are some scattered ideas I have for a future. Sure the future might develop into the antithesis of this, you can’t have a blueprint, but looking at how societies have developed these ideas are more than some utopian dream.

Feedback ?




  1. Luke Reynolds says

    A 10-12 hour working week would be fantastic for Test cricket, allowing spectators to attend or watch on TV all five days! Bring it on! T20 cricket could well be considered too ‘un-time consuming’ in this utopian future.

  2. Luke, always remember that wonderful adage: “The future is unwritten.”


  3. Hi Glen,

    I did read this whilst I was OS, but didn’t comment as my travelling iPad and I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to typing!

    I think that the key point you make is that there are multiple benefits from a more communal society, and sport can play a huge role in creating worthwhile and lasting connections – particularity across demographic, geographic, economic and racial boundaries.

    Personally, whilst we have more tools to allow this to happen, I don’t feel we are using our ‘powers’ wisely in this regard.

    I am very much in teh camp of growing the participation base, and that will lead to more and stronger elite performances and have the added societal and health benefits. I am not as great a believer in the trickle down effect as some others might be.

    Good stuff.

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