In our grandparents' time the working week was a lot longer than now. Although it was subsequently reduced, it has been a long time since there has been any significant reduction in the working week.
At the moment we are in a chaotic situation where some people are working really long hours in one job, others are working really long hours in a combination of two or three jobs, some are working "average" hours, an increasing number are working part-time hours, on which they find it difficult to support themselves, and a significant number are unemployed.
I wondered if it would be a good idea for the working week to be reduced to around 20 hours. If work was shared there would be more of it, workers would be less tired and more productive, parents could share child care more easily, people could help more with the wider family and community, etc. etc.
But, you say, how could people afford to go from working full time to working part time? I believe that if most people were earning less, prices would adjust accordingly. Also, outgoing such as childcare and travel costs would be reduced. When it was unusual for married women to go out to work, families survived on one wage. As more and more married women went out to work, prices adjusted upwards, and now we are in the situation where it's almost a necessity for both parents to work.
I expect many people will think this an impractical and naive suggestion - and perhaps it is. There was a great deal of derision when, decades ago, it was proposed that people should have at least half a day off a week, but it didn't turn out to be the disaster that many had predicted. I think we need to look at new ways of organising society that don't prevent women from pursuing careers or prevent men from participating in their children's upbringing, at the same time as creating a more equal work/family/leisure balance.
Eloethan Sat 23-Mar-13 16:08:16
Mishap Sat 23-Mar-13 16:26:34
Movedalot Sat 23-Mar-13 16:34:13
positivepam Sat 23-Mar-13 19:56:56
Anne58 Sat 23-Mar-13 20:00:41
ginny Sat 23-Mar-13 21:52:27
Greatnan Sat 23-Mar-13 22:36:15
grannyactivist Sat 23-Mar-13 22:50:50
Eloethan Sat 23-Mar-13 23:23:19
goldengirl Sun 24-Mar-13 08:55:30
POGS Sun 24-Mar-13 18:06:43
FlicketyB Sun 24-Mar-13 19:38:16
Greatnan Sun 24-Mar-13 20:20:32
Eloethan Sun 24-Mar-13 21:13:54
absent Mon 25-Mar-13 07:24:17
Orca Mon 25-Mar-13 07:40:39
absent Mon 25-Mar-13 08:13:37