Skip to comments.The Case for a 25-Hour Work Week (This Is Not a Joke)
Posted on 02/05/2013 4:00:57 PM PST by Professional Engineer
The 40-hour work week is an outdated model, according to Science Nordic's James W Vaupel, head of the new Danish Max Planck research center. Instead, he argues, we should only work 25 hours a week--but keep working until were octogenarians.
Were getting older and older here in Denmark. Kids who are ten years old today should be able to work until the age of 80. In return, they wont need to work more than 25 hours per week when they become adults, Vaupel told Science Nordic. In the 20th century we had a redistribution of wealth. I believe that in this century, the great distribution will be in terms of working hours."
Vaupel is adamant that, in socio-economic terms, the important standard is the aggregate amount of work people do in their lifetimes, not at what point in their lives they do it.
Spreading out working hours over the full course of a persons life, Vaupel argues, is both psychologically and physically beneficial at all stages of life.
A 25-hour work week will allow younger people to spend more time with their children, take better care of their health (which will help raise average life expectancy), and improve their over-all quality of life, while for the older population -- many of whom have more time on their hands than they know what to do with -- work can serve as both a psychological and physical outlet.
There is strong evidence that elderly people who work part-time are healthier than those who dont work at all and just sit at home, Vaupel told Science Nordic.
Whatever you may think of this theory, there are certainly many who think (including Sheryl Sandberg) the status quo (the 40/50 hour work week) is not only detrimental to one's health, but actually not that productive.
Why not come out and just say, "we're too bloody lazy to contribute to society."
“We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”
At least none of us will have Obamacare.
Oh, sheesh....the younger you are, the more hours you should work. I would like to see high school ended around age 14/15...and then work or advanced education. People should work the most during their most productive years.....especially from 15 - 50. I worked many a 60 hour work week in my 30’s and 40’s. Won’t kill ya! Will make you stronger, or at least help you prioritize better!
How about everyone go onto 30 hour weeks- 3, 10-hour days.
You would not get paid a lot but hey! I would shovel ditches if I could have 4 days a week off every single week.
One half the poplulation works the first 3 days, the other half the next three days, and we all have Sunday off to THANK GOD FOR ENDLESS 4 DAY WEEKENDS!!!
I would love to go to 4, 10-hour days already- i have too much I want to do at home with jy children. With all that extra time I could plant a garden to make up for the food money i would lose... get my garage cleaned and KEEP IT CLEAN! go swimming and stay healthy - not spend every weekend beat-down and dragging for some more energy to start another week...
I think it makes sense. When you think of government workers I’m sure a lot of them (not all mind you) could complete their primary tasks in 25 hours per week. That’d be a nice savings for the taxpayer.
They should just make the economy so that all women can stay home with their kids, all day.
Should mommies HAVE to work...? I think not.
Cool, we can spend the rest of the time on FreeRepublic.
Yeah the “29er” plan sounds great.
It will pump up Baraq’s employment stats too....
40 hours isn’t enough!!!
I averaged over 12 hours a day 6 days a week for over 40 years and sometimes that wasn’t enough.
There was a guy on Cavuto today urging for a shorter work week and mandatory vacations like in Europe.
The cuts in work would produce cuts in energy used resulting in cuts in greenhouse gasses and the cost savings over a hundred years would be in the trillions. There would be real climate change
I thought the interviewer (not Neil) was going to burst out laughing.
I am retired and could not work that much even if I wanted to.
“You would not get paid a lot but hey! I would shovel ditches if I could have 4 days a week off every single week.”
Doing things with his kiddies and planting gardens doesn’t sound lazy to me.
Okay, let’s drill down a bit... shall we?
The labor force today is 160m, with 140m employed and 20m unemployed.
Is the proposal on the table for, say, 240m to work a 25-hour week? Didn’t they try this for 50 years behind the Iron Curtain a few years back?
Or, just as likely, is the proposal for the aforementioned 140m employed to work 25 hrs, and the other 20m+80m taking from the system, and for that 140m to pay 60% higher taxes so that the govt collects the same amount?
I think Norway is close to this model.
sheesh things are already running at the speed of cold molasses, this would make it worse
Working all the long hours during my 30’s and 40’s, some weeks as many as 90 hours, it has destroyed my body. I have so many arthritic problems, tendonitis, back issues, etc. I took 2 weeks off at Christmas and OMG, I felt so much better. I think 25 hours sounds like a terrific work week now that I’m 60. I could do that until I reach 80!
If we’re all going to be cut down to 25 hours we need to earn almost twice as much in order to pay all the taxes due.
Today, it would fall under the current fad of "fairness," arguing that it's not fair for someone to hoard a well-paying job all their lives, and so they must give up some of it so that someone less fortunate also has a chance to earn a decent living.
Just keep paying me what I’m making now. LOL!
Tripe like this is why I don’t read Inc.
>>A proposal worth analyzing in some depth. I’m surprised at the mindlesss kneejerk reactions here. The 40 hour work week is a norm of fairly recent origin and not at all a universal norm, so why is it considered a sacrosanct minimum?
Because most Americans are trained from birth to think of the “productive work week” being 40 hours, with the “real producers” proudly working 60-80 hours and bragging about how they sold their very finite lives.
25 is a little drastic, but I think we should look at lowering the work week to 36 hours, with an option for 32 for people willing to take the pay cut. We’ve spent the last 40 years automating all of our industries and moving from paper to computers in every aspect of our lives. There is no excuse for working a work week designed almost 100 years ago.
Yeah, that was my first thought, too. Pay me $40 per hour for my first 25 hour job and I'll get second 25 hour job. It's still less hours than I'm working now, but pays a heck of a lot better.
I stopped reading at Denmark. Isn’t that the country where dope is on a menu? Enough said.
Taxes are based on a 40 hour week - with median pay stats.
Think ‘they’ will adjust the taxes too?
The more you work the less you participate in self government.
It is why citizens no longer have a say in their government, why when you’re working an 70/80 hour week in the Silicon Valley, you don’t have time to audit the county recorder and make sure the voting machines aren’t rigged, Or you don’t even take the time to vote in person, you waste your vote by using an absentee ballot.
No, American’s need to have time to rein in this out of control government that got that way because we no longer have the luxury of time to participate in our own government.
Well...part of me agrees with you. As a woman, and wife, I quit working (formally) 20+ years ago....and decided to support my husband full time (and have a life.) I also ran for public office and was elected, (Comm College Board 4 years) and have considered part of my “job” studying politics/gov’t and trying to help others stay informed. Lotta good it has done....can we say I am frustrated? Yes. Taking a year off (mostly) from all that. I also felt it just wasn’t worth contributing to soc sec, spending the gas and clothes money for work, plus I had other things I’d rather do than support the government (I worked in HR in high tech - and it started feeling like a gov’t job.)
Then there are those of us who work seven 12-14 hour days, take a couple days off, and do it all over again. The 100 hour work week isn’t a lot of fun, believe me.
In the early twentieth century, a lot of young women completed eighth grade and then went into the work force to help support their families (parents, younger brothers and sisters) before marrying a few years later. Ditto for young men working on the farms. Society didn’t warehouse them in high schools till they were eighteen and nineteen years old like today.
>>Taxes are based on a 40 hour week - with median pay stats.
My taxes are based on annual income. It doesn’t matter if I worked 10 hours, 40 hours, or 80 hours a week to earn it.
And obviously, taxes aren’t based on a system where they figure out how much they need and divide it by the number of worker-dollars earned because we spend $1.40 for every tax dollar taken from the population.
So, tax rates are set by the maximum they can make them and still get re-elected. In today’s America, taxes are not really a revenue generator. They are a societal control device to punish and reward behavior, to take money out of circulation to control consumption, and a means to differentiate the two halves of the RepubliCrat party.
>>Then there are those of us who work seven 12-14 hour days, take a couple days off, and do it all over again. The 100 hour work week isnt a lot of fun, believe me.
You are a true martyr. Keep up the good work!
That's what I was 'trying' to get to last night.
The Gov't would have to 'cut' spending if citizens hours were cut across the board to the lower hour standard - unless the hourly wages were adjusted up on the business and public sector's payrolls (taxpayer) back.
To put it another way, people live in different types of houses (sizes) and the towns property tax to reach a goal in order to pay for salaries, roads, schools, police, fire, etc.(This is assuming they have a budget - the country doesn't :>)
Say, all of a sudden, every house was wiped out and replaced by the same small house design - where once there were medium and large houses. Everything else stayed the same (with gov't increase spending) How much would property taxes be on those small houses?
If we all paid the same - how much would "Same" be in comparison to before?
That's what I meant about the standard 40 hour week(middle class tax), as with houses, some work less and some work more, some have more amenities and more land. But there is a median, taxes are structured for taxation goals - how would it work with a 'perfect world' 25 hour week?
If you look at how much “work” is really “Making the boss think I am important”, I can see this working.
>>That’s what I meant about the standard 40 hour week(middle class tax), as with houses, some work less and some work more, some have more amenities and more land. But there is a median, taxes are structured for taxation goals - how would it work with a ‘perfect world’ 25 hour week?
Going to a shorter work week requires several paradigm shifts. The first is “what do people do with the time off?” If they use the time off to drive around and spend money, then we’ll have a problem. If we spend the extra time volunteering, going to school, and actually raising our own kids for a change, then the time will be benficial to society.
The second is “pay people for what they do and not the hours they work.” This will take a lot of rethinking on the part of employees and employers. This is the hardest change.
The third is “learn to live on less”. People will need to live on less money when they work less hours, unless they are smart and productive. You are correct that the government will have a problem with that and will try to shift taxes accordingly. But, moving to a consumption tax instead of income tax does a lot to fix this problem.
Now, to the honest, there is as much chance of this working as there is for most Christians to behave like Christ. But the current system is destroying our humanity and has been for a long time. Perhaps the two are related, since a person who works as cog in a machine for 40+ hours a week, with another 10 hours stuck in traffic driving to their job as a cog at the same time as all the other cogs has a hard time getting in touch with their spirituality.
If we could solve those 3 problems I listed, we might just become better people than the industrial robots we are today.
With cell phones and connectivity to the office Virtual Network, people work a lot of off-hours, still checking emails.
It’s almost like being permanently “on call”. There is the expectation now that people are checking their emails throughout the day even while they aren’t in the office. The lines are getting even more blurred.