Isn’t four hours enough?

It’s a few weeks now that I’ve since I wrote last time.  So much for being back to work and that age old rat race.  Up early in the morning, work till late, couch and a little TV before going to bed, that seems to be the curse for most of us till retirement.   Trying to do something else is tricky. Hitting the gym, a little bit reading, listening to some music or meeting friends over a beer (which is next to impossible when one needs to drive home).

I completely agree with Bertrand Russel that we should fight for a four hour day.  Why is it that we still work our arses off when there’s so much unemployment and automation?

Here is what went wrong with the world:

At the start of the machine revolution they said that in future nobody needs to work anymore but everybody can live in leisure like the rich because machines will do all the hard labour for us.  That was the vision of the future then.

However, somebody must have thought that this was not a good idea.  What about if instead of sharing the benefits of those inventions with everybody we just make it to work for the few.

Imagine an employer who has a thousand people working for him.  He now buys some machines from the profit which he made thanks to the hard labour of his workforce. He could reward each worker by halving their work burden.  Instead of working for eight hours they can now work four hours for the same wage.  What a blessing this would have been.

But what happened instead:

The employer thought, Wait a minute, if instead of halving their daily hours I can lay of half of them and make myself a nice profit. Now i only have to pay five hundred employees instead of a thousand.

Fife-hundred people who were instrumental to make the business a success because of their hard labour were thanked for it by being made redundant.

This is wrong and the story doesn’t end there.  More and more businesses are getting automated. Supermarkets replace staff with automated tellers but at the same time instead of lessening the work burden they make staff work even harder for less money (or hire cheap labour from more desperate countries)

The more businesses automate the more people become unemployed.  The more people become unemployed the less money businesses need to pay for their staff. (The rules of supply and demand), yet we’re made to buy more and more useless stuff to feed this greedy machinery.  TV has become just a mass propaganda tool and a way to make people docile so they don’t go to the streets and demonstrate.

We are all taken for a ride by the powerful.  How long are we going to let this happen?


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