40-Hour Work Week

The forty hour work week is only a compromise between indentured servitude and a healthy amount of work a person can do in one week.  It isn’t an ideal number of hours for human labor in one week, nor is it a good ruler with which to measure how long one should spend working each week.

If the number of hours an hourly worker needed before s/he receives overtime was shortened to 30 or 35 hours per week, there would be a number of benefits to society:

  1. Increased income for those who do have high amounts of time/energy to devote to earning income.
  2. Higher value placed on time taken away from family.
  3. More companies who have employees who decide to opt out of the overtime in order to more effectively raise a family.
  4. More individuals who would have time to do volunteer work in areas that don’t earn income, but would benefit our world.
  5. A new ruler against which to measure the appropriate hours a salaried worker should be working.
  6. More think time to see the big picture of human existence (and better plan one’s position within it).

Here are some reasons I can think that anyone (in power) wouldn’t want a shorter work week.

  1. More think time to see the big picture of human existence.
  2. They think that hiring two people each to do 50% of a job would mean less profit — but I’m thinking it would actually mean greater efficiency of both workers.  I’m guessing that more than 2 people’s worth of work could get done, or that mistakes or accidents would decline.
  3. Workers are better at not complaining if they don’t see the big picture (but less efficient, too, since they’re typically pushed beyond the boundary of diminishing returns).
  4. Fewer entrepreneurs to compete against.