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Old 16th June 2019
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Re: 10 Hour Working Week

Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
I can see the wider point that the report's authors are trying to make.

Our current economic system incentivises us to work. But the work we do is consuming the planet's resources and producing pollution and greenhouse gases in large quantities. Why is it "a priori" wrong to look at how we might make a new economic system where work is not like this? There's nothing sacred about work - it's something most of us do for 40 years or so of our lives and we do it partly to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, but a bigger part of the reason we do it is because the economic machine tells us we need more - cars, cameras, holidays, jewellery, ... But do we really need those things to fulfill our 80 years?

I understand that this sort of thinking sounds very pie in the sky, but carrying on as we are is not sustainable. Either we figure out a way to change it in a controlled way, or the geophysics/chemistry/biology will force us to do it in a very unpleasant way.
I agree 100% with your analysis Paul. The concept of working just ten hours a week is perhaps rather too extreme, and would only really apply to manufacturing industry, but the point is well made nonetheless.

I cannot see, for example, how the medical profession, teachers, electricity generation and so forth could ever work for just ten hours a week. And how would that fit in with those in manufacturing industries effectively losing at least half of their income?

That said, why do we all work in the way that we do? Most people in the western world have roofs over their heads and certainly more than enough to eat. In fact many could be described as money rich and time poor, so what are we all working for?

It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.

There is greed, and the love of money for its own sake, but in the main I would say that most people work to feed the insatiable 'needs' and desires created by clever marketing of consumer goods and an increasingly throwaway society.

I am sure that many of those working 'at the coal face' as it were would be happy to work fewer hours in return for more free time, but their management and shareholders have only one goal, and that is to maximise wealth even though they have no need for it.

Whatever happens, if we do drastically reduce industrial output to save the planet, we will need to be more creative in funding those whose work and income will be reduced as a result. Simply paying for the shortfall out of the public purse can only be a very short term option. I wonder what Jeremy's plan would be?

Naughty Nigel

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