Friday rant: 40 + 20 more doesn’t add up edition

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?

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.

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