Publication Details

Donaldson, M & Poynting, S, The Time of Their Lives: Time, Work and Leisure in the Daily Lives of Ruling-Class Men, in Nathan Hollier (ed), Ruling Australia: The Power, Privilege and Politics of the New Ruling Class, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2004, 127-153. Copyright 2004 Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd.


This chapter is about what ruling-class men do in their daily lives. How do they invest, pass or spend their time? We are dealing here with the exceptional life conditions and activities of the richest and most powerful men in the world: the richest one to five per cent, whose interests and decisions so widely determine, that is rule, the conditions and activities of the rest of us. A 1996 United Nations Human Development Report identified 358 men whose wealth equals the combined income of 2.3 billion people, forty-five per cent of the world's population. Most such people are, of course, men. It takes a very special masculinity, however, to maintain this rule, and many years of work - of servants and educators and many other people, directed by parents - go into producing this. Here we deal with their daily lives. We begin our discussion of ruling-class men's time, work and leisure with a look at their leisure pursuits. For the amount, choice of and control over their leisure, as much as anything else, marks their daily lives as very different from those of the rest of us. We will then compare these with the patterns to be found daily in their work. We conclude with some more general observations about time in the lives of these men.