Sunday, 8 January 2012

Lets cut the working week immediatly to free up much needed jobs

A guardian article reposted below highlightes the absolute need to cut the working week. This is what i and many socialists have argued for some time. Now the capitalist think tankers including the new economics fondation who are afterall capitalist as they look for tinkering with the system which is reformist and leads back to the same idea of capitalism. But we as socialists have put forward this demand for yearsa nd years now.

A thinktank, the New Economics Foundation (NEF), which has organised the event with the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, argues that if everyone worked fewer hours – say, 20 or so a week – there would be more jobs to go round, employees could spend more time with their families and energy-hungry excess consumption would be curbed. Anna Coote, of NEF, said: "There's a great disequilibrium between people who have got too much paid work, and those who have got too little or none."

She argued that we need to think again about what constitutes economic success, and whether aiming to boost Britain's GDP growth rate should be the government's first priority: "Are we just living to work, and working to earn, and earning to consume? There's no evidence that if you have shorter working hours as the norm, you have a less successful economy: quite the reverse." She cited Germany and the Netherlands.

Robert Skidelsky, the Keynesian economist, who has written a forthcoming book with his son, Edward, entitled How Much Is Enough?, argued that rapid technological change means that even when the downturn is over there will be fewer jobs to go around in the years ahead. "The civilised answer should be work-sharing. The government should legislate a maximum working week."

Many economists once believed that as technology improved, boosting workers' productivity, people would choose to bank these benefits by working fewer hours and enjoying more leisure. Instead, working hours have got longer in many countries. The UK has the longest working week of any major European economy.

Skidelsky says politicians and economists need to think less about the pursuit of growth. "The real question for welfare today is not the GDP growth rate, but how income is divided."

Parents of young children already have the right to request flexible working, but the NEF would like to see job-sharing and alternative work patterns become much more widespread, and is calling on the government to make flexible working a default right for everyone.

This is all very well but fails to take account of how capitalism works. They will not do things to benifit the workers if they can help it. Their only real drive is the blind relentless drive for profit and if it is told it may not result in such they will not go down that path. So while this study is good and makes a valid point i cannot see a capitalist country going down this road anytime soon. Anytime the working class has faced up to the ruling class and demanded a shorter working week it has met with huge resistance. It is something the ruling class oppose as it means workers have more time to organise politically and in trade unions leading to a fightback and a possible and hopeflly likely realisation of the bankrupt system we are forced to live under. It will also mean more workers in work which may help their productivity but it will have an affect on the way they can exploit workers. Having workers in work is not helpful for keeping wages down to increase their own surplus value. Which is unpaid labour as marx would put it.

So this kind of idea which as i see it is utopian under a capitalist system which lives on the highest form of exploitation it can get away with and makes its profits through the unpaid labour time the worker unwillingly gives to their boss in return for the nessesary wages to live and get by. Which is the subsisdence of labour as marx put it.

So this kind of society that is being proposed can only be realised under a socialsit democratic planned economy wheer the needs of ordinary people come before the need to make a profit

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