Work hours - #1 issue of our times

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Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 20th, 2017, 12:36 am 

The essay below shows life- and progress-suffocating job hours ruining America. Citizens, in effect, enslaved again. No time for family, community, political vigilance, or developing their own new ideas (which profit-fixated firms won’t touch unless they can see profit very soon - financial profit, uninterested in ideas for other kinds of profit such as gains in environmental health, quality of life, standard of living, the greater good, however vast).

America is in the final stages of commercial psychosis. Stagnating in smothering corporate feudalism - the same old, private-sector tyranny a la Dark Ages royalty, oligarchy, the 1% tyranny the U.S. was to be the end of.

To see how bad it has become, look at these excerpts from the essay:

“Working 24/7 Is Sapping Our Souls.”

“…disturbing trend … Most people say that their boss expects them to be available 24/7 … often on client conference calls someone on the call says they’re calling in while on vacation … crazy …

… I get emails from clients at any time day or night Saturdays and Sundays and holidays … It’s expected … People tell me that they are afraid to not respond because of the repercussions it may have on their job and career … No boss wants to be the one who backs off, and doesn’t work 80 hours a week …

No one stops working at lunch [or] on weekends [or] takes breaks - may make them look like a slacker because they will be the only one … people need life balance in order to be productive, to be healthy and to not suffer from burnout and stress [killing their efficiency, enthusiasm, performance and productivity] …

… Modern technology was supposed to make things easier and faster and create less work but that promise was a false one … We need to realize we are all human and have to start taking better care of ourselves … We need to redraw the lines and set boundaries again between work and our personal lives. Let’s get our souls back and go home when the sun is still up and hug our kids.”

[Shawn Doyle, 6/20/2016: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-doy ... thy+Living]

Profit-driven (tunnel-visioned), business, advertisers, had the big bucks to ipso facto appropriate mass media to indoctrinate our people in hyper-materialism, hyper-production, hyper-consumption, leading us to this totalitarian commerce state; a still rapidly metastasizing cancer on environment, media, government, standard of living, quality of life, and progress scientific, social and political.

Of course enterprise is good, but we need it to be sane, balanced, salutary. Instead, we’ve relapsed into the all-stifling, 1900 A.D., 100-hour/wk “sweatshops,” government to the highest bidder, and eco-suicidal materialism.

Americans need to ask, “Do I work to live or live to work?” Or, as one of far too few lucid economists, Robert Reich, put it: “Does the economy exist to serve us, or do we exist to serve the economy” [the 1%’s economy; the new royalty].

In short, where is the 30-hour workweek socio-economic experts expected by 1980, with which America would have continued to soar instead of decline.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 20th, 2017, 9:44 am 

Suffice to say this would depend on a number of factors. I have had a number of jobs where every minute can drag as though you were in a soul sucking hell. But I have had other jobs where 50 - 60 hour weeks were not enough and the days flew by far too quickly. Depends on the job and as much on the people. I, and I know others, sometimes opine that the desire for a shorter work week (often not accompanied by a willingness to give up any pay) seems more a product of the more privaleged who have more money and opportunity to spend on leisure activities although granted some others might just want to spend more time in dingy basements watching tv or gaming (many of whom quickly make me think that these people really need to get out more) but then I know others who, aside from their full tme jobs, have a part time job or two possibly including their own small businesses. Don't like to stereotype but these latter are often immigrants who out-compete the locals across the board. But yes, some jobs in some places are pretty bad for various reasons but I would think a better idea is to look for something better.

I may not get much agreement here but IMHO the #1 work related issue is the amount of time and resources wasted in meetings and pointless training exercises (included team-building exercises only slightly modified from grade school busy work). Personally, in both provate and public sector industries, I would bet that 90% of meetings could be done away with freeing up a lot of resources. Instead of 8 - 10 empty suits spending 8 - 20 hours a week listening to reports, etc., that do not concern them in the least, one on one meetings with the necessary people would eliminate a lot of wasted time and bigger meetings could be held off for once a month or less. Truth be told I also think of the carbon footprint from all the muffin boxes and fruit trays alone. But as I say, I am sure everyone has different opinions on what the biggest work related issues are.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Braininvat on February 20th, 2017, 10:42 am 

More than a thumbs up. Last paragraph above nailed it brilliantly. I've lived what Forest is talking about.

Concerning work hours, generally, everyone should see "Who do we invade next?" the Mike Moore documentary on how Europeans live and work. The contrast is stark, with the U.S.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby vivian maxine on February 20th, 2017, 11:24 am 

Braininvat » February 20th, 2017, 9:42 am wrote:More than a thumbs up. Last paragraph above nailed it brilliantly. I've lived what Forest is talking about.

Concerning work hours, generally, everyone should see "Who do we invade next?" the Mike Moore documentary on how Europeans live and work. The contrast is stark, with the U.S.


As have I. Always took a good book along and sometimes got to read it.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 20th, 2017, 11:44 am 

vivian maxine wrote:As have I. Always took a good book along and sometimes got to read it.


Wouldn't it be interesting to know how often this was read from a smart phone held in someone's lap at just such a meeting?
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby vivian maxine on February 20th, 2017, 11:47 am 

Forest_Dump » February 20th, 2017, 10:44 am wrote:
vivian maxine wrote:As have I. Always took a good book along and sometimes got to read it.


Wouldn't it be interesting to know how often this was read from a smart phone held in someone's lap at just such a meeting?


Didn't have smart phones then but I'll bet there's a lot of it now.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 20th, 2017, 7:19 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 20th, 2017, 5:44 am wrote:I have had a number of jobs where every minute can drag as though you were in a soul sucking hell. But I have had other jobs where 50 - 60 hour weeks were not enough and the days flew by far too quickly.

Your implication is that it's a 50-50 situation - half of jobs good, half not. A report in 2013, said, "An alarming 70% of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged..." http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/70-u-s-workers-hate-job-poll-article-1.1381297 Another says 71% of millennials do. I've seen studies in the past say it's not 70 or 71 but 85%.

the desire for a shorter work week (often not accompanied by a willingness to give up any pay

A cut in pay implies workers don't deserve a shorter work week. Worker productivity (output per worker) doubled ca. 1960-1990, e.g. As Boston College sociology prof. Juliet Schor said, If workers are producing twice as much, either they should by now be paid double or only have to work half as long.

Instead, work hours are long increasing and median paychecks are flat for 30 years [Robt. Reich], while CEO salaries skyrocketed and ~5 billionaires in the 1950s became 1,500. Workers have already earned substantial reward as much as any CEO or plutocrat. The idea of them having to pay (with a reduced income) for a 30-hour workweek is plainly unjust.

some others might just want to spend more time in dingy basements watching tv or gaming

Or at the shopping mall. I've seen that argument. Your key word is "some." A lot of people even now do not fritter away what free time they have, even though worn down mentally and physically by their job. Given a 30-hour workweek (2-3 more free hours a day), some, if not most, will use that time for useful activities - more time with the kids, night classes, time for spouse, friends, family, and community activities, which might produce new scenarios, facilities and activities that will increasingly pull more and more TV slackers out of their recliners.

But yes, some jobs in some places are pretty bad for various reasons but I would think a better idea is to look for something better.

Easier said than done when one has little time to him/herself after today's increasing working hours, increasing commute hours, arriving home exhausted with household chores and kids yet to attend. Secondly, the increasing work hours are widespread if not ubiquitous, so odds of finding one with good hours are not improving, and odds are 7 to 3 you'll soon hate the next job just as much.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 20th, 2017, 7:45 pm 

I can agree with some of your points but others not so much and there are a lot of factors I don't think you are taking into account. So where to begin?

d30 wrote:Secondly, the increasing work hours are widespread if not ubiquitous, so odds of finding one with good hours are not improving, and odds are 7 to 3 you'll soon hate the next job just as much.


Truth be told some people are never happy no matter what jobs they find and after a while that becomes the reason they can't find better jobs. I have worked a lot of jobs ranging from the best to nearly the worst and managed in some of them. There is almost always a down side in every job that people hate (mindless paper work? marking student papers? disciplining employees who do not want to come to work and do the job but won't quit? making schedules for work that needs to be done 24/7 but everyone wants the same days off, don't want to work the night or weekend shifts especially on sunny days? don't want to show up for fieldwork when it is too hot, cold rainy, etc. but the job must be done on time? telemarketing? tending to or cleaning up after sick people in a hospital (especially when the replacement doesn't show up for work? etc.) Truth be told, for some reason or another, many of the really good jobs just don't seem to exist anymore. But other, crappier jobs do and those are the ones people are hiring for so in the end I suspect you either have to accept working in lousy poor paying jobs or being unemployed from a career that may not even exist anymore. Until Trump fixes the world. Or someone else gets that job and does better. But that may not happen because I hear the hours are pretty bad and it is very stressful.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 20th, 2017, 7:57 pm 

Truth be told I shouldn't have left that on what appears to be a sour note. You can get better jobs and you can make even bad jobs better for yourself and others but you really have to do that yourself. Nobody else can or will do that for you. Maybe the real question is how you can make things better instead of wanting someone else to change those things.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 20th, 2017, 7:57 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 20th, 2017, 5:44 am wrote:I may not get much agreement here but IMHO the #1 work related issue is the amount of time and resources wasted in meetings and pointless training exercises...

Off-thread immediately, because it is not about management and organization. It's about our culture and lifestyle, about the quality of life.

Not about managers and supervisors and their meetings, i.e.; not about what is being done at workplaces. It's about how much of workers' lives are being commandeered doing it. About the disappearance of all the things people used to do before pursuit of the almighty dollar consumed life, such as pursuing their own interests, hobbies, sports, coaching the kids' little league or soccer teams, staging plays, festivals, discussion groups, self-improvement, neighborhood interaction, community participation, friendship, getting together to play cards or the like and converse, reading, cultural events and activities, creating things on their own or in collaboration.

Life is not a marketplace. It's a living place. All the above could come back, to the great benefit of our society and culture, with the long long overdue 30-hour workweek, stolen by financial hoarders who pocketed all the massively increased wealth that came from soaring productivity (more and more produced at less and less expense via industrial experience and technology), and used that wealth to buy elected officials to help them steadily bend society and all its once diverse initiatives and activities to their all-ruinously one-dimensional pursuit - selfish monetary gain (with all the collateral damage involved, such as to the environment).
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 20th, 2017, 8:04 pm 

d30 wrote:Off-thread immediately, because it is not about management and organization. It's about our culture and lifestyle, about the quality of life.


Sorry if I quibble but part of the title was "#1 Issue of our Times". By no stretch of imagination can I accept that it is the #1 issue of our times and I can't even see it is the #1 work-related issue. Minimum wage? Lack of enough jobs of any kind? Lack of pensions and benefits? Bounce that idea around these parts and most people I know will grump that that is only a problem for a few privaleged white kids.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Braininvat on February 20th, 2017, 8:07 pm 

Well, those happiness polls conducted in various countries seem to support your 30 hour workweek idea, D30. Countries that rank the highest, like Italy and Denmark, have all gone to shorter workweeks and more annual vacation time, as well as longer paid maternity leave. And yet their businesses are quite productive. Huh. Go figure. Could it be that...happy well-rested people actually do better quality work? Gobsmacked, I am.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 20th, 2017, 8:15 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 20th, 2017, 3:45 pm wrote:I can agree with some of your points but others not so much and there are a lot of factors I don't think you are taking into account. So where to begin?

d30 wrote:Secondly, the increasing work hours are widespread if not ubiquitous, so odds of finding one with good hours are not improving, and odds are 7 to 3 you'll soon hate the next job just as much.


Truth be told some people are never happy no matter what jobs they find and after a while that becomes the reason they can't find better jobs. I have worked a lot of jobs ... There is almost always a down side in every job that people hate ... tending to or cleaning up after sick people in a hospital ...many of the really good jobs just don't seem to exist anymore. But other, crappier jobs do and those are the ones people are hiring for ...

The point is that all jobs become substantially less hateful when they are 30 hours a week instead of 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80. And, truth be told, the workweek was supposed to be 30 hours by 1980 according to many observers including sociologists and economists in 1960, but then other experts said circa 1980 that it should be a 20-hour workweek by A.D. 2000, making jobs substantially even less hateful.

We all dislike the chores and details involved with maintaining our lives, but they are tolerable because we're not required to do them every day for 8, 10, 12 hours. That is, FG, the thread is not about the pleasantness of the work. It's about how much time doing it is being forced on our ~150 million workers, who, themselves, don't realize the issue is not the likability of the job, it's the time, the amount of their lives, they have to do it.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 20th, 2017, 8:23 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 20th, 2017, 4:04 pm wrote:
d30 wrote:Off-thread immediately, because it is not about management and organization. It's about our culture and lifestyle, about the quality of life.


Sorry if I quibble but part of the title was "#1 Issue of our Times". By no stretch of imagination can I accept that it is the #1 issue of our times and I can't even see it is the #1 work-related issue. Minimum wage? Lack of enough jobs of any kind? Lack of pensions and benefits? Bounce that idea around these parts and most people I know will grump that that is only a problem for a few privaleged white kids.

That part of the thread's title (#1 issue of our times") was a modifier. The thread's topic is "Work hours."

As we proceed I hope it will become clear how much bigger an issue it is than first meets the eye. Given a full hearing, full vetting, here, the fog will lift I hope, and it will be seen that it is indeed the #1 issue of our times." You may have missed my post that was posted about the same time as your newest one(s), in which I explained how it is indeed even the #1 "work-related" issue" as well, because it affects all society, not just the workplace.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 20th, 2017, 8:31 pm 

Braininvat » February 20th, 2017, 4:07 pm wrote:Well, those happiness polls conducted in various countries seem to support your 30 hour workweek idea, D30. Countries that rank the highest, like Italy and Denmark, have all gone to shorter workweeks and more annual vacation time, as well as longer paid maternity leave. And yet their businesses are quite productive. Huh. Go figure. Could it be that...happy well-rested people actually do better quality work? Gobsmacked, I am.

That's one of the most important aspects of it, indeed, Biv. With a 30-hour workweek, workers arrive substantially more fresh, alert, and efficient. Also, their minds are far more awake, having had more sleep than they used to get.

Such workers are not only going be significantly more efficient, accurate, etc., their more alert minds are going to start noticing things, getting ideas to improve ways and means at the workplace, even further improving efficiency, cost-saving, accident-reduction; even ideas for new products, policies, etc.

Furthermore, more relaxed, refreshed, clearheaded people, thus more patient and tolerant, are thus more cooperative, upping efficiency and innovation nationwide.

As said, there is far more to the 30-hour workweek issue than first meets the eye.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby SciameriKen on February 20th, 2017, 9:53 pm 

Forest_Dump » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:04 am wrote:
d30 wrote:Off-thread immediately, because it is not about management and organization. It's about our culture and lifestyle, about the quality of life.


Sorry if I quibble but part of the title was "#1 Issue of our Times". By no stretch of imagination can I accept that it is the #1 issue of our times and I can't even see it is the #1 work-related issue. Minimum wage? Lack of enough jobs of any kind? Lack of pensions and benefits? Bounce that idea around these parts and most people I know will grump that that is only a problem for a few privaleged white kids.



Yet people likely do not have enough time to engage politically to fight for minimum wage, benefits packages, nor do they have any time to conceptualize and start businesses to create jobs - also - key to being healthy? Time -- time to cook meals and shop for quality ingredients - time to learn to cook - time to exercise. I am with D30 on this - this is one of the biggest issues.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 21st, 2017, 12:09 am 

THIS SHOWS WHY THIS IS THE #1 ISSUE OF OUR TIME:

A radically different new era is upon us. The question is, will we let it tear society apart, or make a smooth transition into that new era? If the latter, we must begin without delay. The first step is now realized: The 30-hour week (30HW).

In his richly documented 1996 book, The End of Work, Jeremy Rifkin warned of the enormous upheaval, crime, violence and suffering ahead:

“The high-tech global economy is moving beyond the mass worker ... fewer and fewer required ... The substitution of machines for workers is going to force every nation to rethink the role of human beings in the social process ... fewer and fewer workers needed to produce goods and services ... new jobs created in the U.S. economy are [already] low-paying, generally temporary ... “

“… the economic fortunes of most working people continue to deteriorate ... moving to a new workerless world ... In the past new sectors emerged to absorb the displaced laborers. Today, all three traditional sectors — agriculture, manufacturing and service — are experiencing technological displacement, forcing millions [into] unemployment ... “

“… the only new sector emerging is the knowledge sector … entrepreneurs, scientists, technicians, programmers, professionals, consultants. While growing, [expected to replace only] a fraction of the hundreds of millions [of jobs] eliminated [by] revolutionary advances ... “

“… fast polarizing the world’s population into two irreconcilable and potentially warring forces — an elite who control the technologies and production, and growing numbers of permanently displaced workers with little hope ... “

“… a growing number of desperate humans creating a vast new criminal subculture [e.g., hacking, phishing, identity theft, blackmail, carjacking, home invasion, terrorism, criminal gangs, violent radical factions] ... “ *
* [The End of Work, Jeremy Rifkin, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, N.Y., 1996, p. xv-xviii, 3, 4, 13, 236]

We cannot wait for drag-their-heels “leaders” to [typically] react far too late instead of promptly preparing for vast, inevitable change.

30HW is the perfect first step to globally adjusting to the acceleratingly approaching little-or-no-work world. It’s a gentle change as opposed to the upheaval from doing nothing. It will divvy up jobs among all in need of livelihood.

Business and government will have to hire 25% more workers, to do what formerly 40-hour but now 30-hour workers are no longer doing each week. Stabilizes all. We have to begin this transition, via 30HW, now, not later. Many millions already suffering decades from disappearing work. It’s increasing. You and yours are inevitably next.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 21st, 2017, 7:39 pm 

d30,

It seems you are focused on a small subset of the working public. Yes, some people complain about having to work too many hours, but more people complain about not finding full-time employment of 40 hours.

The former are usually high-paying salaried jobs. The latter are paid hourly. Being employed for only 30 hours per week (or less) and paid hourly is a much bigger problem for a much larger percentage of workers.

The dream of a 30 hour week is a nightmare if the employee can't live on the wages a 30 hour week provides. According to the government's own statistics, 94% of the new jobs created in the last year have been part-time jobs. Some take on two part-time jobs while others supplement their earnings with government subsidies.

If everyone was a skilled professional with a well paying career, a 30 hour week might be desirable, but for most it is an absurdity.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 21st, 2017, 8:06 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:The dream of a 30 hour week is a nightmare if the employee can't live on the wages a 30 hour week provides. According to the government's own statistics, 94% of the new jobs created in the last year have been part-time jobs. Some take on two part-time jobs while others supplement their earnings with government subsidies.

If everyone was a skilled professional with a well paying career, a 30 hour week might be desirable, but for most it is an absurdity.


Good point on the number of people having to worl two or three of those jobs to make ends meet. But d30 is arguing for those jobs getting paid a ton more (double? triple?).
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 21st, 2017, 8:29 pm 

Forest_Dump » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:06 pm wrote:
Paul Anthony wrote:The dream of a 30 hour week is a nightmare if the employee can't live on the wages a 30 hour week provides. According to the government's own statistics, 94% of the new jobs created in the last year have been part-time jobs. Some take on two part-time jobs while others supplement their earnings with government subsidies.

If everyone was a skilled professional with a well paying career, a 30 hour week might be desirable, but for most it is an absurdity.


Good point on the number of people having to worl two or three of those jobs to make ends meet. But d30 is arguing for those jobs getting paid a ton more (double? triple?).


Unless you are talking about paying them in Monopoly money, it is going to have to come from someone. And "taxing the rich" only goes so far. Doubling the pay for people whose skills don't translate into value added will either mean higher prices or fewer jobs. If the minimum wage is doubled, I would recommend investing in the companies that make robots. :)
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 21st, 2017, 10:36 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:Unless you are talking about paying them in Monopoly money, it is going to have to come from someone. And "taxing the rich" only goes so far. Doubling the pay for people whose skills don't translate into value added will either mean higher prices or fewer jobs. If the minimum wage is doubled, I would recommend investing in the companies that make robots. :)


As you know I have different views on minimum wage and the value of a progressive tax system but for here suffice to say these target and would impact very different sectors of the economy. What is being propsed here is a work week of 24 to 30 (+/-) hours a week for some with, I assume, overtime paid for more than that. Not sure how you could avoid some people having to work more - you just have to compensate differently but I think this is definitely targeted at very specific sectors of the economy.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 21st, 2017, 11:56 pm 

Note that when Henry Ford unilaterally reduced the workweek at his auto plant circa 1920, he simultaneously increased their daily wage to compensate for the fewer hours worked.

He knew (1) that without that, their dwindled income thus purchasing power would harm the economy, including his auto sales; (2) he knew that such investment in the workers/consumers would pay for itself in the increasing profits and economy resulting from workers with enough income to spend on the products of businesses.

There is no need for workers pay to be cut. The 30-hour workweek will pay for itself (and much more). You guys don't yet benefit from vetted understanding of this fabulous solution to practically everything, such as the following, from Rifkin's The End of Work, 1996 - about the huge success of Kellogg's unilateral leap forward to the 30-hour workweek, AND DID IT DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION:

"In 1935 the company published a detailed study showing that after ‘five years under the six hour day, burden [or overhead] unit cost was reduced by 25 percent … labor unit costs reduced by 10 percent … accidents reduced 41 percent … [and] 39 percent more people [were] working at Kellogg’s than in 1929.’ The company was proud and eager to share its insights with others in the business community: ‘This isn’t just a theory. We proved it … accident and insurance rates are so improved, and the unit cost of production so lowered that we can afford to pay as much for six hours as we formerly paid for eight’ … The Kellogg philosophy said the goal of increased productivity should be not only profit, but more leisure time for millions so they could renew commitments to family and community and explore their own personal freedom … H.I. Harriman, president of the Nat. Chamber of Commerce, spoke out for spreading the work more equitably, saying, ‘It is better for all of us to be at work some of the time than for some of us to be at work all of the time while others are not at work at all.’”*
*[The End of Work, Jeremy Rifkin, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, N.Y., 1996, p.27]


Also, as already stated, it would be a travesty of justice to expect workers to pay for more discretionary time in their lives (via a paycut), implying they haven't earned a reduced work week for their part in the soaring productivity and prosperity of the latter half of the 20th century, while CEOs salaries skyrocketed and millionaires became billionaires from it.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 22nd, 2017, 1:11 am 

d30 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:56 pm wrote:
"In 1935 the company published a detailed study showing that after ‘five years under the six hour day, burden [or overhead] unit cost was reduced by 25 percent … labor unit costs reduced by 10 percent … accidents reduced 41 percent … [and] 39 percent more people [were] working at Kellogg’s than in 1929.’ The company was proud and eager to share its insights with others in the business community: ‘This isn’t just a theory. We proved it … accident and insurance rates are so improved, and the unit cost of production so lowered that we can afford to pay as much for six hours as we formerly paid for eight’ …


I can attest to that from personal experience. In one of my many, varied occupations I refused to work more than 5 hours, but out-performed most people who worked 8 hour shifts. In another case, my employer (the City of Los Angeles) experimented with a 4-day 10 hour shift. After a year, the experiment ended primarily because productivity suffered even though we were working the same 40 hours per week. (Most employees were disappointed because they liked having 3-day weekends).

But, while this makes sense for many fields - especially for manufacturing jobs which are becoming scarce - it may not be so successful in others where the business operates 24/7. Reducing the work week would mean having to hire and train more employees in order to cover all shifts. This additional cost is unlikely to be offset by increases in productivity.

‘It is better for all of us to be at work some of the time than for some of us to be at work all of the time while others are not at work at all.’”


And then there's that... With jobs becoming scarce, reducing hours while also increasing the number of employees may become necessary. Although that would be beneficial for workers and for the economy as a whole, it will still be difficult to convince private companies to accept the additional costs it would entail.

Also, as already stated, it would be a travesty of justice to expect workers to pay for more discretionary time in their lives (via a paycut), implying they haven't earned a reduced work week for their part in the soaring productivity and prosperity of the latter half of the 20th century, while CEOs salaries skyrocketed and millionaires became billionaires from it.


I can agree with that portion of your arguments that are supported by facts, but an appeal to social justice doesn't carry the same weight. There is a big difference between scientific evidence and appeals to emotion.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby wolfhnd on February 22nd, 2017, 3:23 am 

The number one problem is that people do not understand that happiness requires discipline and patience. I have never had a job I didn't enjoy.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 22nd, 2017, 12:14 pm 

I have to admit being at least somewhat equivocal in that I agree with at least some, if not most, of the overall thrust of the OP but do not agree with the pragmatics or logic getting there. In fact some of the logic and form of the argument strikes me as being very Trump-like so part of me wonders about the merit of fighting fire with fire but my other side rebels against some of the bad logic and emotional appeal.

For example, one primary argument points back to Henry Ford and his reduction in the length of the work week. While commendable in some ways, of course, that was almost 100 years ago and I am not convinced pointing to this presumed golden age is any different than the vague core of Trump's "Make America Great Again" - like it was in Henry Ford's time? Things have changed quite a bit since then. In fact, it wouldn't take much of a review of economic history to remember that some of the processes set in place since then, i.e., the roaring 20s, led to the depression of the 1930s.

Changes in industrialization back then perhaps did initially lead to some more leisure time but the increases in productivity also then, as now, also led to increased comsumption. And this becomes the big bug in the ointment. Then, as now, increases in efficiency and productivity tend to lead to more consumption, much of which is hidden. Increased productivity and efficiency leading to greater output per worker has not led to a need for less work because the increased productivity and efficiency has instead been "spent" (in cars alone) on building in more luxury features such as heating and air conditioning, better comfort and entertainment, greater safety and at higher speeds. Compared to Henry Ford's time, energy production has become expensive. Yes there are improvements in environmental protection even if we agree it is still not enough, at least there is less danger of rivers catching fire. But a lot of the easy fossil fuel has been used up and we are now using more fuel from hostile environments such as arctic and/or open ocean deposits. Same for minerals. And, compared to Henry Ford's time, people in foreign countries are getting close to their fair share of the results. So some of the increased productivity of first world workers is being spent on improving the lifestyle of peoples in Africa, etc.

So, in fact, at least some (but certainly "how much"?) of the increased productivity of at least some workers is instead being spent on the production of more goods and services comsumed by more people. Back in Henry Ford's time increases in car production led to more cars that lasted a longer time. Today what we have is more people all over the world with cars and more cars per family and cars that are replaced more frequently. While the car production industry may be declining in North America, I am not so sure that is a global phenomenon. Rather more is being produced in other countries where people are at least somewhat more willing to work for lower wages, fewer benefits, fewer environmental regulations, etc.

Back in Henry Ford's day, the US was a huge sector of the global economy for many reasons including protectionism of the domestic economy (shades of Trump return) and turmoil and instability in foreign continents. Think of the wars in Europe alone not to mention the state of other parts of the world. In many of these places they are actually getting the "dividends of peace". And to be clear, it is THEY in other continents who are definitely getting more of the rewards of greater productivity, efficiency, etc. and that includes reductions in the length of the work week, not US in North America. (This by the way should take you back to the old life boat idea the ZPG movement was talking about in the 70s.)

I am a protectionist as I said many many times and I think protectionism is the way to go for many reasons but I have absolutely no illusions about some of the costs. While protectonism could well allow a decrease in the work week, it will also mean having to give up many of the cheap goods found in WallMart or dollar stores and many of the luxuries we have come to take for granted. It will also probably mean having to give up eating out as much as we do, probably some of the cheap computers and smart phones (or more likely just a slowing down of the improvements). And it will mean increased inflation and a rise in interest rates.

Of course I have left out any attention to the unequal distributon of wealth but that, by way of taxation (tariffs, etc.) is a case of bringing in apples to a discussion of oranges.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 23rd, 2017, 8:20 pm 

Please note that your doubts are primarily based on how to accommodate and perpetuate the existing way of life. But that's the point. The existing way of life is unsustainable, in two significant ways:

(1) Environmental depletion. (2) Income depletion. Automation is continually and acceleratingly eliminating the number of jobs available, at a time when increasing population is increasing the number of jobs needed.

So, the salient point is that humanity has to begin profoundly changing its way of life. NOW. Because you musn't do it disruptively. Must be gradual. The change to a 30-hour workweek is a perfectly gentle thus first step that will open the door to steady, gradual socio-economic change, though instantly creating a massive number of jobs (tens of millions), solving that huge dilemma right away.

The 30-hour workweek will also finally give time back for the desperately needed, substantial and growing changes people will make in their lifestyles, easing them away from the narrow, diversity-hostile, eco-suicidal, human-spirit-killing, hyper-production and -consumption way of life, in the direction of diverse culture, arts, sciences, community life, and growing self-development and personal fulfillments - a cornucopia of activities, avocations, hobbies, etc.

Vital to note, guys:

(1) When the work week was reduced circa 1937, it was an instantaneous cut of TWENTY hours, from 60 to 40. The 30-hour workweek will be a cut of only TEN hours, thus that much more manageable.

(2) The 40-hour workweek led to the most productive period in history, with amazing progress for decades not just in comforts, conveniences, medicine, etc. but in standard of living and quality of life, plus led to a period of no severe economic instability until 2007, nor major wars.

(3) In the 1930s, the arguments against reducing to a 40-hour workweek were all basically the same as the ones that early in this process you guys are presenting until you get to know it better; i.e., arguments based on defending, protecting, perpetuating the current ways. Untenable ways, both economically (jobs) and ecologically.

There are ways to make it painless for everyone, on top of the fact it will not only pay for itself, in cost-savings, efficiency, productivity - substantially because of more relaxed, happier, enthusiastic workers for one, it will lead to a far more enabling and fulfilling way of life for all.

One such way, as part of the 30-hour workweek change, will be the also way overdue National Youth Service Corps. All high school graduates (and dropouts) will be required to give two years of service to their country, in dire national needs like infrastructure; and to greatly facilitate and ease the transition to 30-hour workweeks, the number of them needed for it will assist all small and mid-size businesses in need of some free labor while they adjust to the new 30-hour workweek.

Their two-year stint will give young people not only the pride of service to their country, plus new friendships (some lifelong), a beginning personal social network, it will give them real-world experience, many of them in more than one field or endeavor over the two years, greatly, e.g., helping them make a decision based on actual experience about what career to pursue, thus an experience-based decision on what to study in college.

Something has to be done, and it has to be started right now, because it will take a while for all to transition to and develop into their new ways of life - creating new ways of sustainable life and economics in time to avoid economic and ecological cataclysm. It must begin now, because it must be gently gradual. Otherwise we simply do nothing, letting cataclysmic disruption and adjustment, if still possible, ruin if not destroy everyone.

The 30-hour workweek is the perfect, undisruptive way to save all. If we get the word out, get it going viral. It will find huge wide-ranging popular support, not only from the ~150 million overworked, under-relaxed, dreadfully unfulfilled thus unhappy rat-raced masses, but also from income-desperate unemployed masses for whom tens of millions of jobs will open up.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 23rd, 2017, 9:07 pm 

d30 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:20 pm wrote:
The 30-hour workweek will also finally give time back for the desperately needed, substantial and growing changes people will make in their lifestyles, easing them away from the narrow, diversity-hostile, eco-suicidal, human-spirit-killing, hyper-production and -consumption way of life, in the direction of diverse culture, arts, sciences, community life, and growing self-development and personal fulfillments - a cornucopia of activities, avocations, hobbies, etc.


I can only conclude from this that you either (A) have never had a job you liked; or, (B) have never had a job. Hence, your assumption that everyone hates their job.


When the work week was reduced circa 1937, it was an instantaneous cut of TWENTY hours, from 60 to 40. The 30-hour workweek will be a cut of only TEN hours, thus that much more manageable.


That's slightly misleading. You give the impression that this change would be only half as radical, but from 60 to 40 was a 33 1/3% reduction. 40 to 30 is a 25% reduction. Not that much different.

The 40-hour workweek led to the most productive period in history, with amazing progress for decades not just in comforts, conveniences, medicine, etc. but in standard of living and quality of life, plus led to a period of no severe economic instability until 2007, nor major wars.


Much of that was the result of US expansion in manufacturing and trade because of the devastation war wrought on Europe, plus the advent of powerful labor unions.

There are ways to make it painless for everyone, on top of the fact it will not only pay for itself, in cost-savings, efficiency, productivity - substantially because of more relaxed, happier, enthusiastic workers for one, it will lead to a far more enabling and fulfilling way of life for all.


People who hate their jobs will only hate them slightly less when asked to work 25% less. It's not the hours that make some workers miserable, it is the work itself.

One such way, as part of the 30-hour workweek change, will be the also way overdue National Youth Service Corps. All high school graduates (and dropouts) will be required to give two years of service to their country, in dire national needs like infrastructure; and to greatly facilitate and ease the transition to 30-hour workweeks, the number of them needed for it will assist all small and mid-size businesses in need of some free labor while they adjust to the new 30-hour workweek.


Your answer to businesses that are unable or unwilling to foot the bill for this is to provide them with slave labor?
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 23rd, 2017, 9:52 pm 

While I agree with many of Paul's points, there are a few others that need to be addressed.

d30 wrote:Automation is continually and acceleratingly eliminating the number of jobs available, at a time when increasing population is increasing the number of jobs needed.


Of course this has been going on for a long period of time. Why not just legislate away assembly lines, etc? Bring back the secretarial pools with hundreds of typists instead of mimeograph machines? Get more people back into the mines or out chopping weeds in the fields? Pol Pot's agrarian revolution didn't do well but maybe it is worth another shot?

d30 wrote:Must be gradual. The change to a 30-hour workweek is a perfectly gentle thus first step that will open the door to steady, gradual socio-economic change, though instantly creating a massive number of jobs (tens of millions), solving that huge dilemma right away.


Well of course, we do have a lot more of these - they are called part-time jobs. You or anyone could probably find one if thats all you wanted. The problem is that they don't pay enough. Now you certainly could legislate that they all pay much more and offer benefits but it should be obvious that there will be a lot of inflation. It probably wouldn't be exactly a 1 to 1 increase (many profit margins would have to absorb the rest - but which ones?) but it would still be a stiff increase in inflation. How would you deal with that?

d30 wrote:The 30-hour workweek will also finally give time back for the desperately needed, substantial and growing changes people will make in their lifestyles, easing them away from the narrow, diversity-hostile, eco-suicidal, human-spirit-killing, hyper-production and -consumption way of life, in the direction of diverse culture, arts, sciences, community life, and growing self-development and personal fulfillments - a cornucopia of activities, avocations, hobbies, etc.


I am curious as to how much of this or these changes would actually be mandated by you or whoever was in charge. What if people wanted to work more than 30 hours a week at their jobs (like me) or take on two or more of these jobs (like many do now whether you or I think they need to or not). I assume you would allow them to get paid for their work (as opposed to the development of an increased underground economy). Or would you mandate that people attend a certain number of hours a week at some government approved cultural activities.

d30 wrote:(1) When the work week was reduced circa 1937, it was an instantaneous cut of TWENTY hours, from 60 to 40. The 30-hour workweek will be a cut of only TEN hours, thus that much more manageable.


Of course I couldn't help but notice that this was after the Great Depression had been rolling along for 7 years - and would for a couple of more because this DIDN'T end the depression.

d30 wrote:(2) The 40-hour workweek led to the most productive period in history, with amazing progress for decades not just in comforts, conveniences, medicine, etc. but in standard of living and quality of life, plus led to a period of no severe economic instability until 2007, nor major wars.


Sorry but way over the edge and more loke Trump-style alternative facts. The Great Depression of the 1930s was basically ended by WW2 and massive government spending (which actually also required a massive cut in prosperity of people who "invested" in war bonds, etc.). The subsequent economic growth after the war certainly was also the product of government spending on soldier's salaries and massive amounts of pentup demand that was released as massive consumer spending which, it seems, you are against. And yes a lot of this was also because provately owned factories had been incredibly upgraded with tax payer dollars during and after the war. There was certainly a lot of changes in the labour force during the war with women being allowed to work and there was a ton of pressure for that to continue although there was also pressure from returning soldiers who wanted their old jobs back, etc. But there was certainly all kinds of economic instability during that time from recessions from the OPEC nations, inflation, etc. And more than a few wars (Korea, Vietnam not to mention the IIran-Iraq killed a million or more but we here in the west don't pay much mind to that one), Middle East strife and the rise of terrorism, a few more genocides, etc. Wow I could go on but suffice to say not exactly a time of peace and prosperity.

d30 wrote:One such way, as part of the 30-hour workweek change, will be the also way overdue National Youth Service Corps. All high school graduates (and dropouts) will be required to give two years of service to their country, in dire national needs like infrastructure; and to greatly facilitate and ease the transition to 30-hour workweeks, the number of them needed for it will assist all small and mid-size businesses in need of some free labor while they adjust to the new 30-hour workweek.


Of course many will want that to be mostly military service. Perhaps some other WPA work programs loke cleaning up the sides of highways (BTW I am opposed to making anything ike this mandatory for lots of reasons and then you are back to where we are today), but you definitely do need to be very careful here. Obviously there is a very real danger of eliminating some jobs by going into competition against some. Even providing these people "useful" experience in what could become later careers would likely end up back-firing. Why would I hire an adult to do a job when I could get cheap NYSC labour? Who would I have to pay off to get more of these free labourers than my competitor? And on it goes.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby SciameriKen on February 23rd, 2017, 10:15 pm 

d30 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:20 am wrote:(1) When the work week was reduced circa 1937, it was an instantaneous cut of TWENTY hours, from 60 to 40. The 30-hour workweek will be a cut of only TEN hours, thus that much more manageable.


Exactly how was this enacted in 1937? Was it just with government jobs? How could we do it in the modern era?
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 23rd, 2017, 10:49 pm 

SciameriKen wrote:Exactly how was this enacted in 1937? Was it just with government jobs? How could we do it in the modern era?


A very important point. I am not sure how many places, if any, try to legally restrict the number of hours you can work per week. One place I know tried to do this but since a minimum number of workers were required 24/7 over two weeks of holidays at Xmas New Years, it was almost impossible to fill these shifts. But some definitely did want to work (for various reasons including one case of someone who had lost their family) just for the massive amounts of overtime pay. But of course if you allow people to work more jobs and more hours then you do get a kind of inequal distribution of wealth and even work related and social kinds of pressure because so and so is working too much, etc. But when should we let government step in here?
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