Thursday, December 18, 2008

Never Say Never

by Sandwichman,

Over at TPM, in reply to prompting by the Sandwichman, Randall Wray wrote:
Work week reduction (or "work sharing") has never, anywhere, eliminated involuntary unemployment and underemployment; indeed, it has never had a significant effect. That reserve army of the unemployed persisted despite reduction to the 12 hour day, the 10 hour day, and the 8 hour day. It will persist even if we can move to the 6 hour day.

Meanwhile, Dean Baker wrote that one of two simple answers to the problem of secular stagnation was:
Work fewer hours - while workers in other wealthy countries can count on 4-6 weeks a year of vacation, workers in the United States are guaranteed no paid time off. As a result, the average work year in the United States involves almost 20 percent more hours than the work year in Western European countries. As fringe benefits a shorter work year can be more family friendly and also we can be less polluting if we take the benefits of our productivity growth in leisure instead of income.

1 comment:

reason said...

I don't see any conflict. In fact, I once had a letter mangled (sorry published) by the economist saying exactly the two points there so combined.

It may not solve the unemployment problem, but there are other good reasons for doing it.