In a long-term study carried out in Iceland, the traditional 9 to 5 five work structure has been decimated. The research, carried out over four years, reduced the weekly hours workers put in without docking their pay. Specifically, they trialed a four-day workweek. The results will cause the capitalist class to squeal, squirm and yell every insult imaginable. Are you ready? Not only were the workers involved in the study much happier with greater work-life balance, but productivity went up. Let us delve into this.
The Study, Part One: Happy Workers
Over a period of four years, 2500 workers from various industries took part in a four day work week. Hours were reduced and pay remained the same. The results of the study were, according to one of the researchers
… hugely positive. Workers from all sorts of areas of the public sector are incredibly happy with their work-life balance, spending more time with their families, doing more kind of extracurricular activities — things like cycling, taking up new hobbies, and so on’
So, the workers’ lives improved as a result of spending less time at the office. Who would have thought? Now, I doubt the owner class would ever say this in so many words, but who gives a sh*t about that? They are peasants, they are replaceable. But those of us outside the sociopathic bubble of shareholders and corporate profits see the benefits. Happy workers are more likely to work hard for you and see their job as something of value. In short, people are less likely to revolt if you do not crush them. Shocking.
The Study, Part Two: Muh Profits!
One of the arguments one hears against reduced working hours or increased wages is ‘what about the profits’. The Ferengi from Star Trek are now a model, not a warning. This race was a parody of extreme, unfettered capitalism which placed profit above all else. Profit defined the very identity of a member of this species. There were no unions, health regulations, or anything else that got in the way of holy profit. This race is now the basis for modern so-called capitalism.
But it turns out this study has that covered too. According to the report outlining the findings
The trials were successful: participating workers
took on fewer hours and enjoyed greater well-being,
improved work-life balance and a better cooperative
spirit in the workplace — all while maintaining existing
standards of performance and productivity
That last clause is decisive. The precious profits of the parasitic vultures in the owner class remained the same. This despite the reduction in the number of hours the workers did. This research undermines the profit argument, with its petulant sense of entitlement to the time and labor of workers. Why should they break their backs to have the owner class hoard the vast majority of the profits? Technology has advanced to the point that this archaic, almost feudal social structure has outlived its usefulness.
Analysis: What of the Future?
As I said in the opening of this piece, if this study receives any coverage from the western media at all, it will be negative. The western owner class is not interested in workers having more time to themselves. The maintenance of the archaic structure of 9-5 Monday to Friday (and this only because the law says so) is much more important. The owner class will bitch about socialism and communism and all the other non-arguments they use to destroy anything that resounds to the benefit of the peasantry.
Let them. Let them squeal and expose their petulance and sense of entitlement for all to see. If they are willing to commit suicide in public, who are we to prevent them? This research is only the beginning.
Conclusion: A Long Time Coming
In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes (of Keynesian Economics renown) predicted that, in the twenty-first century, a 15-hour workweek would suffice. This prediction, grounded in the technological development of the age, has of course not come to pass. The technology did, but the social change did not come with it. Let us remember that the 9-5 (or 9-3 in the case of school) schedule is artificial: we made it up. Indeed, the limitations that are placed on labor (child labor laws, minimum wage etc) were also made up. Never forget, friends, that the very existence of such laws tells you that if they could get away with it, they would.
But back to Keynes and his prediction. The idea that technology should result in fewer hours for workers and more time for, you know, living, has been long in the pipeline. The owner class just hoarded the benefits for themselves. Using America as an example, if the minimum wage kept pace with productivity (as it did before the 1980s) it would be more than $22/hr now instead of the $7.25 federal minimum. The owner class is, in a very real sense, a parasite: extracting resources from the host that is the rest of society. Unlike most parasites though, the owner class has convinced the host of its necessity. The current study says ‘not as essential as you think’, and it is to be lauded for that. May its data and conclusions serve as the basis for future, broader trials of this long-overdue and quite fundamental social change.
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