Skidelsky has fucked it up, yes.

As I thought he would too.

Skidelsky’s report on working hours has failed – entirely except for just one line which doesn’t go anywhere – to mention unpaid household working hours. Which, given that this is some half of all working hours is an important lacuna in a report about working hours.

It is simply not possible to make sense of what has happened – and will – without understanding this.

A pencil sketch of working hours this past century. A massive fall in female unpaid household working hours. A large fall in male unpaid household working hours. A considerable rise in female paid market working hours. A reduction in male paid market working hours.

The combination of all leading to increased leisure hours for both male and female.

Now try and parse events without reference to household working hours. Not going to make sense, is it? Today’s massively richer women are working more hours? Whut?

Skidelsky’s report ain’t worth the transient electrons its printed upon.

13 thoughts on “Skidelsky has fucked it up, yes.”

  1. People other than me are enjoying all those extra leisure hours, and I am paying so much for them to enjoy said hours of leisure, that I can’t afford to employ them to instead spend some of those leisure hours in household work for me.

    I wonder how this state of affairs could possibly have come about?

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    Are they really comparing hours worked at, say, the face of a coal mine or in a blast furnace with modern work conditions?

  3. Ah so that’s it. And to ignore the household unpaid work on purpose Robert would have to argue that doing the dishes is leisure time. In which case he’d then be in the position of saying “households of Britain scrap your dishwashers to increase your leisure time.”

  4. Increased leisure hours?

    Hm. I’m always rather reluctant to remark on this kind of thing because, frankly, I’m ignorant.

    But when I compare my working and capital accumulating* experience with that of my immediate forebears, I struggle to equate their experience with mine. The immediate Lud forebears are currently on their xth holiday of the year, having retired at 60.

    Likewise wages. Not just in my profession, but I see poor old busters advertising driving lessons for less than I paid for them 30 years ago. Delivered takeaway pizza prices have gone through the floor. Good for consumers, I get that. But still.

    And yes, I understand that this is not scientific. Just an impression. So, I’m an open-minded bigot. I am willing to be persuaded that wages and leisure hours are higher/better. And for sure, there are people in whom I see this. My banking and property management pals, for instance. But generally?

    Go on, persuade me …

    * In 2016 I sold a property whose value had nearly doubled since buying it in 2010 (ca. £455k to ca. £770k). Fab. But I reckon that had I held onto it for as long as had the old dear from whom it was bought then, to achieve the same return as her, I’d have had to sell it for over £16m. Will that really happen in 2050, that you can sell a London terraced house for over £16m? Gawd knows what those even a mere seven or eight years younger than me do. I actually feel comparatively lucky, next to those (admittedly noodly, uptalking) youngsters.

  5. M’Lud

    “Delivered takeaway pizza prices have gone through the floor. Good for consumers, I get that.”

    But it’s the free working of individuals in a free market. That must be good, surely?

    Now where’s that flexible, keen free agent, aka.child, I need to send up my chimney?

  6. “Are they really comparing hours worked at, say, the face of a coal mine or in a blast furnace with modern work conditions?”

    Herein lies the truth.

    The fact is that its virtually impossible to find people prepared to graft these days. If you do find such a person pay them a kings ransom and feed them caviar and lobster, because they’re worth it. What you can get plenty of is people who turn up occasionally, do the square root of FA and expect to be paid the same as the grafter at the end of the week.

    All labour hours are not the same.

  7. I have not worked a significant amount of overtime in decades. Maybe about 12 years ago I worked with guys who were about ten years older than me who would work an extra hour every day and every Saturday morning. I’ve also progressed from fixing heavy plant machinery in all weathers to fixing power tools on a bench in a cosy workshop. Much less graft I have to admit.

  8. I would add that back in the days when I used to work overtime, I would spend a fair amount of my leisure time fixing my motorbike or my car so that I would be able to get to work on Monday.

  9. I always thought that a Skidelsky was a brownish sort of mark appearing in one’s underwear from a fart that only slightly followed through …

  10. Skidelsky, the Polish farter of fame
    Had many great farts to his name.
    But most will remember
    That fateful September
    He followed through – to acclaim!

    The sound was an awful report
    A mix of a cough and a snort
    And what he laid down
    Was a mark, mostly brown,
    In his drawers, where the efflux was caught.

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