There is a movement to change to a 4 hour work day. It claims this would help to solve many of the worlds biggest environmental, economic, and social issues
Imagine a single measure that could provide a solution to the three most important aspects of our society today:an unstable economy, environmental degradation and poor quality of life of the population. That is what the 4 Hour Work-Day can provide, and much more. It can even set the path to transition into a new economic model, a model that has incentives to respect people and the environment at the same time. It is time for us to organize and fix once and for all what governments and politicians are unable to fix, by supporting the Global Campaign to institute the 4 Hour Work-day worldwide.
The campaign’s proposal is this: “To reduce the work-day from 8 hours to 4 hours a day without reducing income, through a peaceful and democratic Global Strike.” The transition to the 4 hour work-day will be implemented through periodic reductions of half an hour each month to let the markets adjust, so in 8 months, we would accomplish a 4 hour work-day. But the reduction of working hours would not stay there. A re-evaluation every 10 years will be performed to analyze increases in productivity and if we find that productivity has indeed increased (which is what most likely will happen with the rapid advancements in technology) then another reduction will be applied in proportion to the amount that productivity has increased. That means that, if we find that a 2% average annual increase in productivity occurs, then 30 years after we accomplish the 4 hour work-day we would be working about 2 hours a day only.
The idea of work-time reductions is not something new. John Maynard Keynes, for example, wrote an essay in 1930 called: ”Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren“, where he predicted that the work-day would be reduced to 3 hours a day by 2030. Bertrand Russell and Paul Lafarge also had writings referring to reducing the work day as well, In Praise of Idleness (1932) and The Right to Be Lazy (1883) respectively. More recently, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) published an article in January 1986, advocating for the 4 hour work-day. Juliet Schor, economist, professor of Sociology at Boston College and author of many books including “The Overworked American” and “Plenitude”, argues for work time reductions as a measure to stabilize the world wide economy, protect the environment, and provide a better quality of life for the population. Along with her, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) released a report in 2010 called “21 Hours” calling for a 21 hour work-week as a way to revert the economic crisis and set the path for a more steady state of the global economy. In fact, on January of 2012, Juliet Schor participated in a conference organized by NEF and the London School of Economics where they argued in favor of work time reductions. As you can see, the idea of a 4 hour work-day has been discussed for a long time and it is time to implement it.
And why a strike? you may ask. The 4 hour work-day campaign asks for a peaceful and democratic Global Strike to implement the 4 Hour Work-day worldwide. That is the way it was achieved when we reduced the work-day from 16 to 12 hours a day in the mid 1800’s and again in the early 1900’s when we reduced it from 12 hours to the current 8 hours a day. It would be naive to request that you write your politicians to do it. This measure would not be discussed in any Congress or Parliament at all unless we put pressure on them. It goes too much in favor of the people and against corporations and conventional economics. This measure needs to be imposed by the people going on strike and pressuring the world leaders with the message that we are not going to move forward until this measure is applied worldwide. These are the reasons why we need to reduce the work-day to 4 hours a day (or its equivalent in weeks or months, 20 hours a week, 2 weeks a month, 6 months a year):