You don’t hear business owners say that. Business owners want (who can blame them) increased productivity. A 20% increase in orders leading to a 5% increase in jobs, or maybe no increase in jobs is much more employer friendly than upping employment proportionally.
Productivity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We can buy more when goods cost less. Eliminate labor costs and everyone benefits… well, except for those who used to do the labor.
That’s the rub, right? There’s a conflict. What businesses want and our society needs have moved out of alignment.
Growing up I watched The Jetsons. Mr. Spacely did well, but the labor saving devices also helped the workers. George’s feet were up on his desk. He still had a desk!
In the real world the bulk of labor savings have gone to the top. George Jetson would have been downsized out by now. It’s the bottom and middle that have suffered.
Is it time to reexamine the 40 hour/5 day week? We’ve just got too many skilled and semi-skilled workers for the world’s available work?.
From GoBankingRates.com: In the Middle Ages, people were obligated to work eight hours a day, six days a week, excluding holidays. A saying from King Alfred the Great of England was “Eight hours work, eight hours sleep, eight hours play, make just and healthy day.”
As time moved on, the work schedules actually increased a bit, especially in the United States. In around the year 1800, a 14-hour work day was customary in the U.S. for men, women and children. This was largely due to the Industrial Revolution. Then in 1840, President Martin Van Buren issued an executive order that laborers and mechanics be limited to working 10 hours in a day.
But it wasn’t until the International Labor Organization held its first conference in Oct. 1919 that “Hours of Work” convention established an 8- or 9-hour work day, which constituted a max of 48 hours worked per week.
First manual labor was automated. Intelligent labor is quickly following. Nowadays we often interact with a businesses and never deal with another human!
Last week Google began bragging its autonomous driverless vehicles have gone 300,000 miles without an accident. When self driving cars and trucks are perfected (not too far away) who will win? Who will lose?
Increased productivity has created a society with more workers than are needed. How will we fix that? It needs fixing. Job talk alone isn’t the answer.