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Are We Headed For A Two-Day Work Week?

(photo by much ado about nothing@Flickr)

We were talking in the studio just the other day about the advances the world has seen in the past 100, even the past 50 years. We look back at pictures or read about life 100 years ago and wonder how could people possibly survive without a cellphone or a computer or all the other luxuries we enjoy. And what will the world be like 100 years from now? They’ll likely be saying the same things about us and be amazed at how primitive life was in 2013.

Economists in the 1930s predicted that technology in the future would become so advanced and we would become so productive that we’d only need to work two to three days a week. The prediction was we would produce all would need in just a few days time each week that we wouldn’t need to produce any more. Otherwise we would have too much of everything and it would go to waste.

And because we would only be working two days a week it would give us so much leisure time we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. We’d become “bored out of our minds” is how they put it.

In 1965, a Senate subcommittee predicted we would be working 14 hours a week with at least seven weeks of vacation by the year 2000.

So what happened to the shorter work week? We need to keep working to afford all the things we never needed before. American marketing has convinced us we absolutely have to have every new thing that comes out.

Here’s something interesting; Germans put in an average of 10 weeks less work than Americans do. But still a country with less than a third of our population has the fourth largest economy in the world and the third largest exporter. That’s efficiency.

You know your employer isn’t just going to give you more days off, so if you had a choice would you take less money or a longer weekend?

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