If we want to try to change the world it’s probably a good idea for us to know how it works already. You know, so that we can both work out whether we want to change it and also ponder through which lever to pull in order to gain the desired alteration.
This being something that is near never done when considering working hours. Because the fools will just keep on looking at the hours done working for The Man and not actual working hours. Work is work, work being not leisure and not personal time. What matters is those hours of work, not particularly how they’re divided between working for pay and working to keep the household going.
This thus is just the wrong starting point for any discussion on working hours:
UK employees have the longest working week compared to other workers in the European Union.
No, they don’t. For a start, the information being quoted is this:
Note the qualifications. This is only among those who work full time, the difference is largely trivial anyway etc. The same paper gives us this:
That makes logical sense – poorer people work more hours. Richer people take some of their greater wealth in more leisure.
But even that’s not good enough. Because working hours are not those just spent for The Man. The feminists wouldn’t be complaining about having to do the washing up if it were. We need to add unpaid household labour in order to gain our proper measure:
Household hours and market such are imperfect substitutes for each other. As Ed Prescott gained the Nobel for pointing out the imperfection of the substitution comes from – at least partly – the tax wedge taken off market paid work and not unpaid household.
The claim that Britons work more hours than other Europeans is simply drivel. Thus all analysis which starts from the assumption is going to be wrong, isn’t it?
Associate Professor of Organisation and Human Resource Management, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick
We’re overdue a certain culling of academia, aren’t we?