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"Death from overwork": observable outside of Japan??

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  • "Death from overwork": observable outside of Japan??

    Perhaps one of the most noticable cultural phenomenons about Japanese society is a very obedient and suppressed labour force. Probably exceptional among most developed nations, it is common in most work places that workers are "forced" to work overtime without any payment. This happenes frequently, and my mother told me about the times when she worked in an office during the 1980s, and she would work ten hours a day without any compensation for the additional times she did. This is, in fact, probably a very modest case. If one tries to work people like that in most of Europe, the labour unions would call a strike and the government will fine the business. Not in Japan.

    One of the sociological results from this is what we call "death from overwork" (Karoshi). It is a rather disturbing trend where people suddenly drop dead in the office due to a stroke or a heart attack, despite the lack of any previous illnesses. High blood pressure caused by incredible degrees of stress are blamed primarily for this. It's something that sounds like from a third world country, but it's considered an exceptionally "japanese" phenomenon.

     

    I'm posting this thread because I heard recently that my cousin's best friend just died from this. Have you heard any cases of this happening in your respective societies??

     

     

    more info : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj9N52lRTAQ

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  • #2

    One of my relatives worked in an assembly plant, that produced lighting fixtures, where the work was gruelling and lots of overtime and the rate of people dropping-off was really alarming.  It seemed like every month he would tell me someone else had died.  Not just older employees, either.  A younger guy who I went to high school with died in his early 40's, while working there.  My relative later had a stoke, attributed to a drug he was taking for high blood-pressure.  He is lucky to be alive.  He would have been just another person who died while working at the place.


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  • #3

    10 hours a day?

    That's not a huge sacrifice to have a secure job, feed a family, keep a roof over their heads.


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    "Anthropogenic global warming is a proposed theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late-20th-century warming and projections of 21st-century climate. If the recent warming hiatus is caused by natural variability, then this raises the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural climate variability." --Dr. Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology

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    • radomu
      radomu commented
      Editing a comment

      rbstern wrote:

      10 hours a day?

      That's not a huge sacrifice to have a secure job, feed a family, keep a roof over their heads.


      Don't be a moron. It's this sort of thinking that creates societies like Japan, where social morals and ethics are created on behalf of the profit motive in order to justify the sordid practice of the abuse of the workforce. It is, and it ought to be, illegal to force people to work over 8 hours a day.  

      Hell, in the Netherlands people are allowed to do part-time jobs and get the same wages as full-time workers so they can work less when they don't feel like they need the money. This is a far cry from Japan, where organized labour is forced to be obedient to the managerial class.


      Caulk Rocket wrote:

      S. Korea is just as bad.

       

       

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/07/world/asia/07iht-psych07.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


      Their society is virtually just a blueprint of Japan's, so I totally understand. We have very similar problems concerning workplace abuse.

      East Asia is one of the most economically dynamic and wealthiest regions on the planet, but also one where organised labour is undermined to a degree where people trade off their happiness for their paychecks.


      narwhal wrote:

      One of my relatives worked in an assembly plant, that produced lighting fixtures, where the work was gruelling and lots of overtime and the rate of people dropping-off was really alarming.  It seemed like every month he would tell me someone else had died.  Not just older employees, either.  A younger guy who I went to high school with died in his early 40's, while working there.  My relative later had a stoke, attributed to a drug he was taking for high blood-pressure.  He is lucky to be alive.  He would have been just another person who died while working at the place.


      Sounds terrible, where in the country is that?


  • #4

    You ought to say that the  japanese workers are to afraid to tell their bosses to go fk themselves. It's true about Karoshi, but it is not that common these days as it was 20 years ago. Workers in Japan can leave at freewill if they want to if they feel they are being worked to death. Getting fired is one thing, but the employee  now has rights to sue the companies since new laws have been past to prevent Karoshi. Apparently your cousin was just to busy to keep up with the new  laws.

    "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a look at the American Indian" — Henry Ford

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