So the European Parliament has voted that people shall not be allowed to work in the legitimate market economy for more than 48 hours a week.
Not, that is, if they are an employee.
The European Parliament has voted to force Britain to remove its controversial opt-out from the EU\’s weekly limit on working hours, striking a blow to the long-sought deal among the member states on the maximum amount of hours Europeans can safely spend at work.
The self-employed can of course continue to work whatever hours they desire. I certainly have no intention of bringing my working week down to 48 hours…..and what is my working week anyway? Is blogging work? It certainly leads to opportunities to do paid work. Is writing a freelance article work? I certainly get paid for it.
It\’s also worth noting that absolutely none of those in the Parliament who voted for this measure would admit to working as little as 48 hours a week. What with attending sessions, working in their constituency, going to this and that do with the Party, with donors, fact finding trips…..one rule for them and another for us, eh?
But there\’s also a horrible failure of logic in this decision. The hours we spend working in the legitimate market economy are not the only hours we spend working. We also spend considerable hours in household production. Cooking, cleaning, repairing the house, these sorts of things are still work, even though we don\’t get paid directly for them. And such household production is in many ways a substitute for market work. We can work the hours for pay, buy a takeaway….or we can not work the hours and use the time to cook at home, just as an example. Or iron shirts or employ someone to do that. Get a gardening service in or do it ourselves.
The mark of a liberal economic order would be that each person is allowed to decide that mix of market and household production for themselves. Yet here we have a division imposed from above.
"The democratic legitimacy of today\’s vote is beyond question," Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, secretary-general of the European Federation of Public Service Unions, commented following the vote.
We can argue about whether the EP is in fact democratic another day, but what this vote actually shows is what can go wrong with democracy. That it turns into the tyranny of the majority. Why should I not be allowed to decide my desired mix of market and household production, my work life balance, for myself? Why should anyone, whether elected or not, take it upon themselves to deny me that freedom?
In short, fuck \’em, the illiberal little shits.