One should, perhaps, not take everything the Skidelskys say at face value.
They note that the nations with the longest working hours – the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy, in the graph of OECD nations they publish in the book – are those with the greatest inequality.
For they manage to entirely miss the implication of unpaid household production: they measure only paid working hours.
When you add paid and unpaid working hours together then the picture really does change. For example, the average German woman works more hours than the average American one. Many fewer in the market, many more in the home.
What the UK and US (dunno about Italy) are doing is that more work in the market, where we can all take part in the division and specialisation of labour, and less work in the home, where we cannot. The standard outcome of which would be a higher standard of living for the same hours of work: for each hour will be more productive where we can take part in that division and specialisation.
And that\’s what\’s wrong with ignoring domestic production hours: when you do include them you get a completely different result. Those places with more market working hours also tend to have more leisure hours…..which is the true measure of not working hours.