Saturday, January 14, 2012

21-Hour Work Week?

The 40-hour work week standard has spanned more than 50-years, despite the rapid pace of technological advancement, which, as it increases efficiency, reduces the need for human labor. So, why are we still working 40 plus hours per week?

Well, after WWII, it was decided that the US should actively promote economic growth in order to provide Americans with 40-hour jobs, so corporations eagerly ramped up their advertising and production, while the federal government invested in infrastructure to stimulate that economic growth.

Well, 50-years later, thanks to a more than willing consumer society, we've more than doubled productivity to the point where economic growth has become a cancer on society. On the planet. As Michael Coren at Fast Company says, "It catches people in a cycle of consumerism and consumption where they "live to work, work to earn, and earn to consume things."

But is it really necessary to stimulate this malignancy in order to create jobs? In order to keep the 40-hour work week? Because evidence has shown, that beyond a certain point, economic growth does not increase our well being. It's time to rein in the growth because well-being has taken a huge nose-dive over the last 30 years.

So, what about reducing the standard work week from 40-hours? It's not as far-fetched as you might think. The New Economics Foundation (nef) has produced a study that encourages a 21-hour work week in order to "reset" societal and political norms.

A ‘normal’ working week of 21 hours could help to address a range of urgent, interlinked problems: overwork, unemployment, over-consumption, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, and the lack of time to live sustainably, to care for each other, and simply to enjoy life.
However, given prevailing wages and expenses, Americans might need three "full-time" jobs to make ends meet. Undoubtedly, in creating a 21-hour work week, developing "a new economic model that will help to engineer a ‘steady-state’ economy and address problems of transition to 21 hours" would be required.

Nevertheless, as good as reduced work week might sound, if the powers that be even consider this option, one must wonder, what's in it for them? More power? More wealth? After all, that's the only thing these people care about.

For instance, could this be the bait that lures us into a cashless society? Where all purchases are made by credit cards, charge cards, or microchip. What's so bad about that? Well, the establishment of international economic order, a one-world currency that gives the ruling class supreme power.

You see, as George Carlin calls it, the "Ownership Class" - when the 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the poorest 150 million Americans - has learned that it's much easier to create circumstances which lead to the masses begging for the change the elite class desire; rather than imposing these desired changes on hostile citizens.

In conclusion, while the 21-hour work week sounds like a solution to a multitude of problems, as Picasso once said, "Every positive value has its price in negative terms... the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima." The "Ownership Class" have consistently proven Picasso, right, time and again..


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