imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The 42-Hour Week

by Helmut Spitzley Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 7:32 PM

"Two currencies exist for prosperity: money and time.. What we need is shorter full-time work for everyone, a new culture of contented-ness and an intelligent working hours policy oriented in the needs of people." translated from the German

The 42-Hour Week

Longer working hours are always proposed as a magic cure for weak economic growth. The opposite is sensible.

By Helmut Spitzley

[This article originally published in: die tageszeitung, November 25, 2003 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

Several prominent German politicians favor longer working hours. The voices urging extended working hours multiply in the media and in discussions. However the facts are often faded out.

Germany is at a level of prosperity unparalleled in our history. More and more is produced in an ever-shorter time with fewer and fewer workers. We will top last year’s production record with this year’s growth of “only” 0.5 percent.

The German economy also leads the way in the international comparison. Unit labor costs are competitive and allow high export- and balance of payments surpluses. An extension of working hours is not necessary to maintain our level of prosperity and to organize the social security systems in a future-friendly way. How the labor and the product of shared work are distributed between employers and employees and between the generations and the genders is contested.

Fewer and fewer workers are needed because we work more effectively. To create additional jobs, the German economy must grow more than two percent. To really overcome mass unemployment, the economy must grow over five percent for many years. Such high growth rates were possible in the building phase after the Second World War. Today they are illusory.

Thus we face the choice between high unemployment and redistribution of existing paid work. Societies that adjust the average working hours to the quantity of available workers act in an economically prudent way. As a result, an extension of working hours given high unemployment is bizarre. Paid work would concentrate in fewer and fewer persons. The compatibility of occupation and family will be harder. New employees and mothers/ fathers returning in occupations would make a mess of employment chances.

The demand for extending working hours fundamentally opposes the goal of the compatibility of occupation and family and generational justice. Is it socially rational to force 60-year old grandfathers to work longer through abolishing senior part-time when his 40-year old daughter or his 20-year old grandson is unemployed.

The advocates of longer working hours think in an economically shortsighted way. They want to close holes but in reality they open new holes. When working hours are extended, businesses need fewer personnel. The consequences are personnel surplus and personnel reduction. Hiring new workers is blocked. The number of contributors to the social security systems falls. At the same time spending for unemployment insurance increases. On top of this, extended working hours make people sick in the long run and burden the health- and pension systems.

That businesses can profit from shorter working hours speaks against the extension of working hours urged by some politicians. Instead of managing with a few overstrained personnel, better results can be realized with co-workers working short and flexible hours. In periods of slack sales, corporations like VW, Opel and Telecom use legal possibilities for reducing working hours. Since 1994, every fifth business in the German metal- and electrical industries has applied the wage law to lower working hours. Studies show that three-quarters of businessmen have had positive experiences with shorter working hours.

On the other hand, extending working hours destroys flexibility since limits of capacity are quickly reached with too few personnel. In contrast, shorter working hours create free spaces in which businesses and their employees can “breathe” better and adjust their personal-political puzzle to the changing market conditions.

A glance at other EU (European Union) countries shows that low unemployment is not the result of long working hours. From an empirical standpoint, the opposite seems true. According to calculations of the Economic- and Social Science Institute of the union-friendly Hans Bockler foundation, countries with relatively short weekly working hours are successful in employment policy. Actual weekly working hours (including part-time) amount to 33.7 in Denmark and only 29.5 hours in the Netherlands (EU-average 35.5). At the same time the unemployment rate in these countries is low, 4.7 percent in Denmark and only 3.2 percent in the Netherlands. In Germany, however, people work longer with 36.1 weekly hours. The German unemployment rate at 8.2 percent is also higher than in Denmark or the Netherlands.

Current policy determines the distribution of paid work, unpaid work for and with children (and seniors) and engagement for socially useful civil projects. In the land of the productivity world master, the pressure to a general extension of paid working hours is paradoxical. Two currencies exist for prosperity: money and time. Instead of urging longer working hours, the variety of life interests should be considered. The challenge of politics, employees and employers is to take seriously widespread desires to work in a flexible or permanently shorter time according to personal goals and biographical phases.

Therefore it is wrong to punish shorter working hours in financial- or social policy. The opposite is necessary. The bonus model for promoting shorter working hours developed by Swiss social democrats points in this direction. Unfortunately this model has fallen into oblivion under Red-Green. A policy focused on a fair distribution of work and income counteracts social exclusion and existential fears spreading like an epidemic. Positive future expectations, material security and increased time prosperity are important if the delight of bringing children into the world should grow. What we need is “shorter full time work for everyone”, a new culture of contentedness and an intelligent working hours policy oriented in the needs of people. The pressure to extend paid working hours is certainly not part of an intelligent policy.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Irrémissible, l'inhumanité acquise en héritage S26 6:37AM

Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses S25 11:45PM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy