I was walking the dog in my in-laws suburban residential area when all of a sudden something became crystal clear to me, you know, when you've always known something, but all of a sudden it forms itself clearly in your head and all you can do is nod?
You have to know that Belgians like to live in really big houses, preferably with really big lawns. And they want these big houses as soon as possible. As soon as they land a fixed job... even before they have kids or get married. The big house is probably more desirable then a good marriage.
From 7AM to almost 7PM these huge homes and huge gardens are empty, because the people who own the homes and gardens have to work all day to pay for the mortgage on the homes and gardens, and those mortgages are equally astronomic as the size of the homes and gardens, so they will probably be working at it for long years to come. The two of them, because with the mortgage, there's no room for any one staying at home, since it will eat the total of one person's salary.
So the kids have to be put in daycare at school, which will eat away at the second salary.
And in the weekend, they'll need to shop to fill those big homes, which again, eats away at the second salary.
And they'll have to tend to the huge garden and big living space, to keep it nice and clean and neatly kept, which will eat away at their time (or their money if they decide that the time is more important).
And when the holiday season comes, they'll all be so tired of the paying and the working and the keeping of the house and the garden that they have to pay for a holiday far far away, to get away from the big house and the big garden. Which leaves the big house and the big garden empty again (maybe even with someone who gets paid to mow the lawn or water the plants).
So why are these people putting in all these working hours for something they can't and probably don't even want to enjoy?
Why does nobody notice how enslaved they are making themselves to these big lawns and big living spaces?