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Sun Dec 2, 2012, 07:49 AM

Don't Slave Your Life Away: Why America Should Embrace a 4-Day Work Week

http://www.alternet.org/books/dont-slave-your-life-away-why-america-should-embrace-4-day-work-week



The Perpetual Workday

Jill Andresky Fraser’s book White-Collar Sweatshop details the movement of factory floor, scientific-management-style techniques into the office. Overall real wages scarcely budged in the 1990s, and earnings for college-educated workers actually declined by more than 6 percent. We might surmise that the lack of salary increases were offset, in part, by noncash benefits, but these too were extracted from the compensation package. “Lunch hour? An anachronism. Commuting time? A good chance to return phone calls. Sleep? Never mind if you were up until 2am on the phone with a client across the globe. Be at the office at eight.

"These days, workers are expected to be on call 24/7—24 hours per day, seven days per week,” writes Fraser. Seen in this light, innovations like flex time or working from home are in fact strategies to bring new sorts of workers—think women—into the job market and to subject them to a new set of (frequently electronic) rules and controls.

Think about it. Fifteen years ago, would you have taken a job if you had to be available every day, respond to messages from your boss late at night, and maintain contact with the office while on vacation? You would probably have taken a pass. But today just about any job, especially the good ones, exhibit precisely this oppressive 24/7 character.

It’s a corrosive double whammy: At the same time as technology has redefined labor by converting craft occupations into assembly line piecework, new gadgets have allowed our less inviting piecework tasks to follow us home, invading our bedrooms, filling family time, distracting us on holiday. This change in the character of work took place very quickly. As technology critic Jaron Lanier observed, “It’s as if you kneel to plant the seed of a tree and it grows so fast that it swallows your whole village before you can even rise to your feet.”

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:03 AM

1. Is this a proposal by the travel industry?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:10 AM

2. Definitely in favor of working fewer hours. That would be progress.

Life should be getting BETTER for us all, not worse and not simply staying the same.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:11 AM

3. Most important sentence from article

>>>So for the past 10 years, workers substituted charge cards and home equity loans for stagnant wages to maintain what seemed to be a middle-class lifestyle.<<<

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Response to NNN0LHI (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:14 AM

4. indeed. i would suggest as well that there needs to be significant pay rises as well. nt

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Response to NNN0LHI (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:21 AM

5. Yes. Citi had a commercial ...

...with a kid swinging. It encouraged people to not work overtime - just use the charge card for what you need. .. So you could be there with your family.

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Response to ReasonableToo (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 03:58 PM

9. Both what Citi is promoting and this 4 day work week stuff are both feeding the


"I want and I deserve" mentality that far too many Americans have.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:47 AM

6. great article, but everyone working Mon-Thurs will not work, obviously

We should have 4 workdays in blocks of 2. 8 hour shifts =32 hours = living wage.
that could work around every schedule, and fewer hours equaling full time will create more job openings.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 02:44 PM

7. Huge problem...it is being done for us NOW by the greedy republican bastards!

 

The republican bastards are ALREADY planning on a short week. Not a 4 day week, but one in which they don't allow more than 29 hours a week for any employee. Why? Because they don't want to pay Obamacare, which is required for companies with employees who work 30 or more hours.

So what we MUST do is to ensure that people can work 40 hours a week and, by law, NOT be subject to extra hours or 2am phone calls to republicanist bastards in China or Timbuktu. In addition, we must make it illegal to hire more part time workers unless a full-time person can do the same job. This is key.

The laws MUST be federally mandated, and red states which dodge this needed law should never get any federal largess unless the Democratic Party increases significantly in size.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 02:47 PM

8. Absolutely right. It is time for the 32 hour work week.

The benefits of productivity are going entirely to the capital class.

The employment to population ratio has been dropping as workweeks have gone up. Fewer and fewer people are being overworked so that employers won't have to train newbies.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 07:57 PM

10. A 20 hour week is more in line.

With automation, there is not enough full time work to go around. Productivity has more than doubled, while wages have been stagnant.

Where's the good life?

--imm

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