Why the end of the 40 hour work week is a good thing !

 

I’m not against working. To have a fully functioning society there are certain jobs that need to be done. Farming, construction and health services are some examples of the important services we require to maintain our society. Until we have fully automated robots doing most of these jobs (still a while away) works still has to be completed by humans.

 

Most work does not contribute to essential services

The reality is most jobs don’t actually contribute to our essential services. While I’m not suggesting that all jobs have to be created for essential services (I can’t imagine a world without coffee shops) we also have a large proportion of jobs that don’t actually add any significant value to humanity in any way.

Of course there are still plenty of jobs out there that do add value. A good restaurant for instance enables families and couples to share time together away from the distractions of their busy lives and this if operated correctly moved humanity forward even if in a small personal way.

I am talking about jobs and companies that either don’t add any value or cause harm (producing cigarettes or violent video games) being a good example.

Buckminster Fuller proposed the US Government would be better off shutting down eighty percent of jobs and paying a modest wage to most of the working and middle class to stay at home. This will alleviate the huge amount of infrastructure this is required to keep people travelling to and from work that doesn’t really add any real value to society.

The other alternative would be to keep everyone working in the remaining essential jobs part time only.

I realise that we need an internal shift before humanity will accept not having to work for a living however what it does highlight is that we are all working too many hours in jobs that don’t really add much value to the world.

 

Why we have a forty hour work week

Many modern day capitalists are proud to point to the fact that the forty hour work week was introduced to reduce the long working week that was introduced to factory workers when the industrial revolution was introduced.

The working week in many cases was reduced from sixty or more hours per week to forty hours.

We have Henry Ford to thank- sort of.

Henry Ford was the first industrialist to introduce the forty hour work week to his factory employees. His reasoning unfortunately was not altruistic. His reasoned that if he paid his workers the same and reduced their hours to forty hours per week they would have more leisure time to spend their hard earned money on consumer items (wow).

His plan succeeded however there was one important piece of this puzzle that not even Henry Ford could have predicted.

 

The rise of consumer credit

From the 1950,s consumer credit laws where changed and consumer credit became available to most working and middle class individuals.

This has had a profound effect on our society. The average Working American (with debt) has about $45000 of non-mortgage debt and about $100000 of mortgage debt.

Your debt eligibility is determined by your disposable income

Now this is where the almost hopeless reality of why we have to work forty hours to exist or more comes into play.

The banks determine your credit worthiness and how much you can borrow by how much disposable income you have available.

The end result is that most of your disposable income goes into paying off this available debt and leaving little else left over.

The result is all purchases end up being made on credit.

So what is the other reason the forty hour work week has been so successful?

 

Companies want the most efficient use of their employees

I used to be a manager for a large insurance company. We had a basic figure what it would cost the company to hire and train a new employee. At the time it was around $8000.

Imagine if the company decided to make each working week just 20 hours per week. This would double the amount of employees required (and office space) and double the cost of training new employees.

So it comes down to cost, one full time employee was (noticed I said was)more cost effective than two part time employees.

We have two major forces at play here, you require a minimum income to pay for all your living expenses and interest on your credit, a full time job is usually the only source of income that can accomplish this.

Add to this the requirement for large companies to be as cost efficient as possible then it’s no wonder the forty hour week has been with us for so long.

However the good news is the forty hour work week is about to change radically.

 

The good and not so good news

The good news I believe for everyone is that fulltime work for most advanced economies is decreasing and part time work is increasing.

There are many of reasons for this. Many of these full time jobs have even been outsourced to third world countries or automated.

The other reason is that companies now require flexibility with their workers.

When the business enters quiet periods they can reduce the hours of their casual employees, something that would not be possible with full time employees.

While in many ways this will free a large number of us from fulltime employment the reality is our government and debt structures have been created around full time employment being the norm.

While fulltime employment will decrease the cost of living is still increasing.

This will be a time of increased financial strain for both individuals, governments and dare I say it the credit providers.

If more of us are working less and earning less the current capitalistic system we have created is in danger of collapsing again.

It is quite evident that our current economic system will not work with more of us working less, so what is the answer?

 

Entrepreneurial Simplification

 

Buckminster Fuller suggested that revolutions never really work. The best way to change a system is to create a better model that works and use it as a working example to show the world.

I believe the way forward is to encourage individuals to transition from thinking like an employee to thinking like an Entrepreneur.

If work as we know it is decreasing and the competition for that work is increasing then why not create a new model that works for you.

Becoming a Spiritual Entrepreneur means creating a business or work that actually matters.

Work that matters will never disappear. Products and services that bring value, joy and beauty into people’s lives will always be in demand.

Of course you need to discover your spiritual purpose before you can create a business that matches your purpose.

 

The other ingredient is to simplify our lives. Firstly by eliminating of as much debt as possible. Secondly by doing less.

If you have less debt and less time commitments you will have more time to work on your purpose and your business.

 

The best of both worlds

I believe a successful model for the future would be for most individuals to work part time (maybe 15 hours per week).

This would allow everyone to contribute to society and keep the essential work continuing.

There would still be specialist jobs like being a doctor that would still need to function close to the full time hourly week but this would be an exception.

The rest if your time could be utilised to work on your purpose, your business and spending quality time with friends and family.

Having a part time job would give individuals a base income while their business would provide the rest.

Of course this is a lot easier to achieve if your cost of living has been radically reduced.

The only losers in all this will be the credit providers (and that would be a good thing)

 

You still have time

The good news is you still have time to learn the skills that are required to becoming an entrepreneur. Most of the information you require is free on the web.

It’s time to reinvent yourself today!

The future will not wait.

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