Sunday, November 23, 2008

The 18-Hour Workweek

by the Sandwichman

What if, sixty years ago, we had collectively decided to take 1/2 of all future productivity gains as more and better goods and services and 1/2 as reduced hours of work? We would now be working full-time jobs of three days a week, six hours a day -- the 18-hour workweek. And we would have reached that point around 10 years ago.

Of course, my calculation assumes that everything else would have remained the same, which is unlikely. The reduction of working time would have stimulated more rapid technological innovation as well as direct productivity gains from a better rested, healthier, better-educated workforce. Furthermore, the limitation of growth of consumption could have led to a focus on wiser, less wasteful consumption.

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