View Poll Results: Should the work week be reduced?

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  • The work week should be increased to more than 40 hours, or eliminated

    19 37.25%
  • The work week should remain at 40 hours

    20 39.22%
  • The work week should be reduced to 36-39 hours

    3 5.88%
  • The work week should be reduced to 32-35 hours

    6 11.76%
  • The work week should be reduced to less than 32 hours

    3 5.88%
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Thread: Shortening the work week?

  1. #1
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    Shortening the work week?

    This poll is mostly directed toward Americans. I was wondering what you thought about the idea of shortening the 40-hour work week. I think it would be a very positive step for our society. We already work far more hours, on average, than any other developed country in the world. I think that most people (with some exceptions) are happier when they're out doing things they enjoy than when they're working.

    Furthermore, reducing the work week would be a good way to help tackle our unemployment problem. If an employer needed a certain number of labor-hours and couldn't get as many labor-hours from each worker, they would need to hire more people. This would reduce unemployment.

    As I see it, the main cost of this would fall on employers. They would need to either pay more overtime (if they still wanted to have employees work 40 hours) or hire more people (and incur the associated recruiting/processing/training costs). These costs seem rather small, especially since corporate America is doing quite well. I think that this would be a much more worthwhile cost to impose than, say, a lot of the inefficient corporate taxes to which businesses are subjected.

    The free market will not reduce the 40-hour work week on its own; if we think it's desirable to work less than that, it will require some government prodding. The 40-hour work week has been in place since 1950, despite the fact that the American worker of today is vastly more productive than his 1950 counterpart. Furthermore, in most industries, companies have an incentive to work employees as many hours as they can get away with, because it reduces training costs.

    But what about the fact that some people already struggle to make ends meet with a 40-hour job? OK, but there are lots of other people in the even worse position of working 0 hours per week because they can't find a job. From a macroeconomic perspective, this is very harmful. It would be far better for our economy to have more people working fewer hours, than to have fewer people working more hours.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 02-28-11 at 05:31 AM.
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    I think the work week should go with just being a societal preference, not something actually regulated... so i'd say eliminating it... if the free-market wouldn't reduce it on it's own, then it's not meant to be reduced below equilibrium.

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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Many working a 40-hour week now struggle to make ends meet and work a second job or OT at their primary work if it is an option. Shortening the work week will simply force many of these people to get a second job or extend hours at an already existing second job.

    BTW, Taiwan meets the standards of a developed economy in most definitions (we have a PPP per capita income on par with France) and have a slightly longer workweek than the U.S. (84 hours per two weeks).
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    A shorter work week may be viable if we had the social services that would be out of so many peoples reach if they didnt have those extra few hrs.

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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    This poll is mostly directed toward Americans. I was wondering what you thought about the idea of shortening the 40-hour work week. I think it would be a very positive step for our society. We already work far more hours, on average, than any other developed country in the world. I think that most people (with some exceptions) are happier when they're out doing things they enjoy than when they're working.

    Furthermore, reducing the work week would be a good way to help tackle our unemployment problem. If an employer needed a certain number of labor-hours and couldn't get as many labor-hours from each worker, they would need to hire more people. This would reduce unemployment.

    As I see it, the main cost of this would fall on employers. They would need to either pay more overtime (if they still wanted to have employees work 40 hours) or hire more people (and incur the associated recruiting/processing/training costs). These costs seem rather small, especially since corporate America is doing quite well. I think that this would be a much more worthwhile cost to impose than, say, a lot of the inefficient corporate taxes to which businesses are subjected.
    The free market will not reduce the 40-hour work week on its own; if we think it's desirable to work less than that, it will require some government prodding. The 40-hour work week has been in place since 1950, despite the fact that the American worker of today is vastly more productive than his 1950 counterpart. Furthermore, in most industries, companies have an incentive to work employees as many hours as they can get away with, because it reduces training costs.

    But what about the fact that some people already struggle to make ends meet with a 40-hour job? OK, but there are lots of other people in the even worse position of working 0 hours per week because they can't find a job. From a macroeconomic perspective, this is very harmful. It would be far better for our economy to have more people working fewer hours, than to have fewer people working more hours.
    Why do you want to hurt employers and people who need to work at least 40 hrs? People are complaining now that their hours are cut because of the economy. The only hrs better than 8hr days 5 days a wk are 10hr days 4 days a wk. But few people have that choice.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    This poll is mostly directed toward Americans. I was wondering what you thought about the idea of shortening the 40-hour work week. I think it would be a very positive step for our society. We already work far more hours, on average, than any other developed country in the world. I think that most people (with some exceptions) are happier when they're out doing things they enjoy than when they're working.

    Furthermore, reducing the work week would be a good way to help tackle our unemployment problem. If an employer needed a certain number of labor-hours and couldn't get as many labor-hours from each worker, they would need to hire more people. This would reduce unemployment.

    As I see it, the main cost of this would fall on employers. They would need to either pay more overtime (if they still wanted to have employees work 40 hours) or hire more people (and incur the associated recruiting/processing/training costs). These costs seem rather small, especially since corporate America is doing quite well. I think that this would be a much more worthwhile cost to impose than, say, a lot of the inefficient corporate taxes to which businesses are subjected.

    The free market will not reduce the 40-hour work week on its own; if we think it's desirable to work less than that, it will require some government prodding. The 40-hour work week has been in place since 1950, despite the fact that the American worker of today is vastly more productive than his 1950 counterpart. Furthermore, in most industries, companies have an incentive to work employees as many hours as they can get away with, because it reduces training costs.

    But what about the fact that some people already struggle to make ends meet with a 40-hour job? OK, but there are lots of other people in the even worse position of working 0 hours per week because they can't find a job. From a macroeconomic perspective, this is very harmful. It would be far better for our economy to have more people working fewer hours, than to have fewer people working more hours.

    I have never heard someone complaining of having too many hours. Usually people don't get enough hours. Americans want to work. Giving them less hours just means there going to make less money.

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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpgrad08 View Post
    I have never heard someone complaining of having too many hours. Usually people don't get enough hours. Americans want to work. Giving them less hours just means there going to make less money.
    Yet were a more productive society than ever... Hrrmz who's eating our pie?

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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    This poll is mostly directed toward Americans. I was wondering what you thought about the idea of shortening the 40-hour work week. I think it would be a very positive step for our society. We already work far more hours, on average, than any other developed country in the world. I think that most people (with some exceptions) are happier when they're out doing things they enjoy than when they're working.

    Furthermore, reducing the work week would be a good way to help tackle our unemployment problem. If an employer needed a certain number of labor-hours and couldn't get as many labor-hours from each worker, they would need to hire more people. This would reduce unemployment.

    As I see it, the main cost of this would fall on employers. They would need to either pay more overtime (if they still wanted to have employees work 40 hours) or hire more people (and incur the associated recruiting/processing/training costs). These costs seem rather small, especially since corporate America is doing quite well. I think that this would be a much more worthwhile cost to impose than, say, a lot of the inefficient corporate taxes to which businesses are subjected.

    The free market will not reduce the 40-hour work week on its own; if we think it's desirable to work less than that, it will require some government prodding. The 40-hour work week has been in place since 1950, despite the fact that the American worker of today is vastly more productive than his 1950 counterpart. Furthermore, in most industries, companies have an incentive to work employees as many hours as they can get away with, because it reduces training costs.

    But what about the fact that some people already struggle to make ends meet with a 40-hour job? OK, but there are lots of other people in the even worse position of working 0 hours per week because they can't find a job. From a macroeconomic perspective, this is very harmful. It would be far better for our economy to have more people working fewer hours, than to have fewer people working more hours.
    Well, most states are right-to-work states, de facto if not de jure. So most state and local governments won't really be able to enforce it.

    Also, if you wanted to shorten the work week, you would have to increase wages - and that just isn't going to happen. Remember, businesses want to pay the least amount of wages to their employees that they can. So they won't do anything that would force them to increase wages.

    Another aspect is training. The reason why employers would rather hire one person for 40 hours a week rather than hire one person for 20 hours and then hire a different person for the next 20 hours to do the same job is because it costs less to train one person to work 40 hours than it does to train two people to work 20 hours. So if you increase the amount of workers that need to be trained without increasing productivity, employers face a loss on training costs.

    So, in theory, I agree with you. I think most people should be able to have a shorter work week. And I don't see this issue as an economic issue but rather a family values issue.

    Now, I'm not saying that women should stay at home while men go out and work. But what I am saying is that having one parent at home, and not even all day - just when the kids are home in the morning and in the afternoons - would help a lot of social problems that stem from the home.

    But, then again, to help deal with this I also favor a school day that starts and ends later in the day. Rather than go from 8am-3pm, I would rather it start from 10am-5pm. This way, kids would be able to get more sleep and rest and then get home when their parents do. This would help with the problems working parents get with babysitters.

    The only way that shortening the work week will get practically implemented is if we get more political organization in our worker force, and that's something that while I support I also doubt that it will happen.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai
    Many working a 40-hour week now struggle to make ends meet
    Quote Originally Posted by SE102
    A shorter work week may be viable if we had the social services that would be out of so many peoples reach if they didnt have those extra few hrs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbbtx
    People are complaining now that their hours are cut because of the economy.
    Quote Originally Posted by cpgrad02
    Giving them less hours just means there going to make less money.
    I addressed this issue in my original post. Yes, going from 40 hours to 35 hours will slightly reduce the size of paychecks...IF you are one of the people who is working 40 hours. If you're one of the people working 0 hours who is now able to find a job and work 35 hours, it greatly increases your paycheck. From a macroeconomic standpoint, this is far better for the economy. It means fewer people are drawing upon government benefits, and it provides a large, immediate stimulative boost to the economy (because, for example, a person is far more likely to spend their first $10,000 of income than their sixth $10,000 of income).

    And aside from the financial aspect, it seems likely that it would increase the level of well-being and happiness within society. It will reduce the number of hours worked, while ensuring that more people actually have jobs. Most people want to be gainfully employed as it improves their sense of self-worth...but those who are employed often wish they had more time to spend with their families. This would help solve both of those problems IMO.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 02-28-11 at 07:07 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Shortening the work week?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I addressed this issue in my original post. Yes, going from 40 hours to 35 hours will slightly reduce the size of paychecks...IF you are one of the people who is working 40 hours. If you're one of the people working 0 hours who is now able to find a job and work 35 hours, it greatly increases your paycheck. From a macroeconomic standpoint, this is far better for the economy. It means fewer people are drawing upon government benefits, and it provides a large, immediate stimulative boost to the economy (because, for example, a person is far more likely to spend their first $10,000 of income than their sixth $10,000 of income).

    And aside from the financial aspect, it seems likely that it would increase the level of well-being and happiness within society. It will reduce the number of hours worked, while ensuring that more people actually have jobs. Most people want to be gainfully employed as it improves their sense of self-worth...but those who are employed often wish they had more time to spend with their families. This would help solve both of those problems IMO.
    You're trying to spread the wealth around in a sneaky way. Quite socialist of you.
    Besides, not everyone thinks work is such a dreadful thing and something to avoid. Some people actually like to work.
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