Here’s a plea for a return to the 40 hour workweek, and whether or not it accurate in its assertions that extra time yields diminishing returns, it seems like a conversation we ought to start up again. I won’t mention the mid-20th century fantasy that by now we wouldn’t know what to do with all our free time (okay I just did) but really, why in the name of Charles Dickens are we working such preposterous hours?
By “we” of course, I mean you, or some of you. I work more or less sane hours, if you consider starting work at 6am sane. But wow, I see people, mostly newer employees, working essentially infinity hours. And I also see people working zero hours because they can’t find a job. And I also see people who are making $20,000,000 and up who wonder why the consumer is “sluggish.” And I see robots who actually CAN work around the clock. And I see ever-rising national aggregate wealth that is supposedly making everybody richer. Something isn’t adding up.
The religion of “whatever the markets lead to is the best we can do” needs a few more heretics. Markets are a tool, not an end in themselves. Living is the end in itself, so can we live some more before life ends, from overwork?