They’ve got a new book out:
Cutting the hours we work each week to 30 instead of 40 would improve our wellbeing, our family life, friendships and communities, they say.
Combined with a range of new career breaks, it could also lower carbon emissions, it was argued.
The claims are made in new book by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), in which experts say that aiming for a 30-hour week could be possible through gradual changes to the labour market.
A 30 hour working week would be good, yes, and it will indeed come with time. Working hours have been falling for centuries. But it’s still a trainwreck. One contributor is this woman:
She’s the barking mad American who claims that medieval peasants worked 1300 hour years. That animal owning peasants had 70 days holiday a year. Entire weeks off for wakes and the like.
Her mistake, and one made by nef all the time, is to fail to distinguish between market working hours and domestic or household production hours.
“We must rethink the way we divide up our hours between paid and unpaid activities, and make sure everyone has a fair share of free time.”
Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have shown it is possible to make changes like these without weakening their economies, the books claims.
It adds: “Time spent providing unpaid care constitutes an important civic contribution that is often unrecognised.
“A shorter working week would both ease the pressure on carers, most of whom are women, and enable their responsibilities to be more widely shared with men. It could therefore help tackle the entrenched domestic bases of gender inequalities.”
“Caring” is work and you’ve got to include those caring hours in the work hours. As you’ve got to also include cooking, cleaning, spinning, weaving, collecting firewood, mucking out the byre and all the rest of it. You’ll note that some of those things had to be done by medieval peasants and not by us. Our working hours have indeed fallen.
They’re simply galloping off with the idea that paid working hours are the only hours that are done and making a colossal mistake as a result.
Just as an example of the mistake they’re making the average German woman works longer hours than the average American one. Because she does so much more of that unpaid domestic labour.