Is A 20 Hour Work Week The Solution To Unemployment?

Are we just living to work, and working to earn, and earning to consume?”

Anna Coote, analyst and writer, member of the New Economics Foundation (NEF)

The Problem

Britain is struggling to shrug off the credit crisis:

  • Overworked parents are stricken with guilt about barely seeing their offspring,
  • Carbon dioxide is belching into the atmosphere from Britain’s offices and homes,
  • The UK has the longest working week of any major European economy,
  • There’s a great disequilibrium between people who have got too much paid work, and those who have got too little or none.”

A Solution Proposed By The New Economics Foundation

If everyone worked fewer hours – say, 20 or so a week – there would be:

  • More jobs to go around,
  • Employees could spend more time with their families, and
  • Energy-hungry excess consumption would be curbed.”

What Do You Think?

Is, as the NEF proposes, “work-sharing” and a “government legislated maximum working week” the solution to unemployment?

Source for all the above quotations: The Guardian: Cut The Working Week To A Maximum Of 20 Hours, Urge Top Economists

Image: “Tough Times” by Renee Silverman

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