Friday, 4 July 2014

Working hours

People used to worry, back at the advent of computers and labour-saving devices, that people would have far too much leisure time, and that society would need to find ways to occupy so many idle people. It seems astounding now that nobody thought we'd just find more work for people to do. Instead of getting the equivalent of a 1950s 40-hour work week done in 20 hours and sitting on our hands the rest of the week, the companies enlarged their scopes. If you get your work done twice as quickly, then you can obviously handle twice as much work, and the company can take on twice as many projects for the same labour costs. So that's what we did.

That pattern will only continue. You'll never build such a wonderful machine that you reduce the hours in the working week. You probably won't get to reduce the stress or the effort involved, either. All it will do is increase the amount of work that can be accomplished with the same amount of effort and time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "Labour-saving" became "productivity-enhancing".
PPS - It's the quiet kind of bleak future.

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