There was an article in this morning's paper that dealt with karoshi, a Japanese term that essentially means "worked to death." This isn't limited to Japanese companies by any means. I've experienced high blood pressure, anxiety, and lost sleep due to long hours and work-related stress. I put in 60 hours last week and there are others who put in considerably more.
Our customer, who is a vendor to a Japanese company, yesterday said that their customer expects work 24/7 to correct a problem. Of course, if a Japanese company is willing to sacrifice their own employees, they are willing to sacrifice somebody else's, too. Launch dates and profits trump all.
It makes one think. Which is better? Living today with the specter of karoshi hanging over your head, or 1500 years ago with conscription and death by the sword in one of the weekly wars against the Romans?
Dead is dead, and no corporation is worth it.