Monday, 9 January 2012

Is a 20 hour week that much of a daft idea

It might be seen as crack pot scheme but maybe there is some sense in the proposal from the New Economics Foundation (NEF)to shorten the working week.

The report in yesterday's Observer  argued that if everyone worked fewer hours,say, 20 or so a week,there would be more jobs to go round, employees could spend more time with their families and energy-hungry excess consumption would be curbed.

It is unlikely to happen given our society's endless pursuit of growth and consumer goods but maybe this sort of radical thinking is just what the Western economy needs to shake itself out of its downward spiral.

The article goes on to say that Anna Coote, of NEF, said: "There's a great disequilibrium between people who have got too much paid work, and those who have got too little or none."
She argued that we need to think again about what constitutes economic success, and whether aiming to boost Britain's GDP growth rate should be the government's first priority: "Are we just living to work, and working to earn, and earning to consume? There's no evidence that if you have shorter working hours as the norm, you have a less successful economy: quite the reverse."

Remember when we were kids and we were sold that technology led future where machines would free us from the office and factory? What has happened is that we have quite the reverse-wonder what went wrong?

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