Whatever Happened To The 15 Hour Work Week?

The radical technological advancements witnessed in the 20th and 21st centuries led many leading economists to predict a drastic reduce in working hours. This hasn’t happened and the world is infinitely worse off for it.

“Technology, far from freeing up our lives, has been used to keep us working the same amount of time, benefiting only the top of our society,” explains Joshua Krook, Doctoral Candidate in Law, University of Adelaide.

 “At an economic level, productivity gains have been absorbed into most companies’ bottom line. While employee wage growth has stayed flat, CEO pay has risen dramatically over the years, stalling only recently. A report from the Economic Policy Institute found that CEO pay has increased by 937% since 1978, compared to a mere 10.2% increase in average wages. In other words, the benefits of productivity have gone straight to the top,” he says.

Over working, over producing, and over consuming have led humanity to the brink of extinction. There is absolutely no reason why this should be the case other than idiotic greed on behalf of the corporations that rule the world and a combination of confusion and apathy among the working masses.

“There are strong arguments for working fewer hours. Some are economic. Others are about environmental sustainability. Yet others have to do with equity and equality,” explains Anthony Veal, Adjunct Professor, University of Technology, Sydney.

Professor Veal, along with countless leading economists and professors, argues “It’s time to put reduced working hours back on the political and industrial agenda,” and that this should be central cause of progressives as it would instantly solve many of their pet grievances.

Instead, progressives have been led down the garden path by virtue-signalling media elites who champion everything but redistribution of wealth.

“The T Word (tax) is really the forbidden word in places like Davos. You can talk about anything – about education, about feminism, about climate change, as long as you don’t talk about higher taxes on the rich,” explains leading European economist, Rutger Bregman, who caused a viral sensation at the infamous Davos conference, when he dared to challenge the world’s richest people about paying their share.  

“According to a report by the New Economics Foundation, a London-based think-tank, making the normal working week 21 hours could help to address a range of interlinked problems: “These include 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,” explains Professor Veal.

“In The Brave New World of Work (2000), German sociologist Ulrich Beck calls on progressive movements to campaign for a “counter-model to the work society” in which work in the formal economy is reduced. In the Mythology of Work (2015), British sociologist Peter Fleming (now based in Australia) proposes a “post-labour strategy”, including a three-day work-week.”

“The Take Back Your Time organisation based in Seattle, argues the “epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine” threatens “our health, our relationships, our communities, and our environment”.

In the words of Adelaide University’s Joshua Krook, “In many industries companies have used productivity improvements to get larger, increasing the amount of business they do. By the end of the tech boom of the 1990s, for instance, Australia had six of the world’s 40 largest law firms. In accounting, the Big Four accounting firms have had record-breaking increases in revenue in the 2010s, while their employees are reportedly “worked to death

“Increases in productivity should be met either with increased wages, or a reduction in working hours at the same wage level. Failing this, the few will continue to benefit from the harder and harder work of the many,” he says.

Published by Jed Smith

Journalist with 15 years experience across every major news outlet in Australia.

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