Presentation on theme: "The Global Economy, Uppsala University November 2011."— Presentation transcript:
The Global Economy, Uppsala University November 2011
The Economics: Increasing productivity? Two ways to maintain employment: Consume more (i.e. economic growth) Work less Steady State Economics: Working time policy important to regulate growth in a socially just way.
Very little change in working time over the past 40 years. More per capita, but less per worker Work-Life Balance 29% of full time workers work 50 hours 32% very satisfied and 46% satisfied (78%) 28% want to work less, even with less pay!! An aging workforce Productivity growth (low at 1%): 40 hours (1978) = 28 hours now
Environmental Less consumption More time to live sustainably Less energy use/emissions Social Less unemployment Quality of life/wellbeing Sexual equity Health Better care for elderly, youth Stronger democracy Easier retirement Economic Improved productivity (quality, better health etc) Flexibility for employers More time for training/education
Environmental None! (?) Social Equity - hardest on the poor Reduced government revenue/spending Economic Reduced material standard of living Higher fixed costs of labour for business Implications for attracting investment
Advantages do not alone justify intervention Free markets result in long hours Market failures? Growing unemployment Unsustainable consumption Already lack of freedom to choose hours (not a competitive, free market) My hypothesis: Work has shifted from a Public Good to Common Pool Resource Limited in quantity Growing insecurity leads to overexploitation
With strong arguments in favour of intervention, why is so little being done? Policy image? Public support? Political will? Political understanding? Ideological divisions? Belief systems?
An absence of a policy image The normal 8-hour day and 40-hour working week is accepted as a given Economic growth as a deep core belief, across the political spectrum SD and a shorter working week conflict with the deep core beliefs, and are therefore sidelined Essentially one economic goal (growth) is trumping various other social/environmental ones.
It is possible for large governments to undermine economic growth due to the economic costs of raising taxation to finance expenditure. There is strong evidence that taxes reduce economic growth through their negative impact on incentives to work, save and invest…
Internal change seems unlikely Possible external factors? Two examples.. Energy Shortages (peak oil?) Fewer work days – less commuting, office energy consumption etc Major Unemployment The need to share out the work for social justice Both have happened in the past!! Otherwise, perhaps a sudden surge in public interest… Pop culture, social networking. Ideas travel fast!
Advantages outweigh Disadvantages Particularly social and environmental reasons Market Failures Exist Free labour market will not bring about optimal working hours Intervention is both justified and required! Policy conflicts with economic growth Long term benefits, short term costs
High debt? An influence on public opinion.. How about culture, the fourth pillar? Protestant work ethic a part of our culture Suspicion of idleness, excessive leisure Does work serve other higher purposes? Work can make us feel productive, valued Provides a social network, promotes teamwork How about consciously rejecting technology, efficiency and productivity?
This isnt just a theory with us. We have proved it with five years actual experience. We have found that, with the shorter working day, the efficiency and morale of our employees is [sic] so increased, the accident and insurance rates are so improved, and the unit cost of production is so lowered that we can afford to pay as much for six hours as we formally paid for eight – Any guesses who or when?
This isnt just a theory with us. We have proved it with five years actual experience. We have found that, with the shorter working day, the efficiency and morale of our employees is [sic] so increased, the accident and insurance rates are so improved, and the unit cost of production is so lowered that we can afford to pay as much for six hours as we formally paid for eight – Kelloggs Company, 1935