The 15-hour working week predicted by Keynes may soon be within our grasp – but are we ready for freedom from toil?

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Not going to happen with the rising healthcare, pensions and social security costs which the aging population needs.


Personal theory: in most western countries, we’ve already reached this 15h/week. However, it’s not distributed as forecast, because most of our jobs involve processing information, therefore remaining in context for long stretches of time on the work we’re asked to do. What happens though is that studying becomes much longer and more prevalent (- 5 years of working career), retirement becomes much longer (20% of adult lifetime vs 5% in Keynes’time?). People switch jobs and have unemployment periods (-1 year over a lifetime?). Finally, we have much more vacations (9 weeks vacation/year is standard in most western countries). We also have work training to account for. All added together, this should not come far from 15-20h/week of productive work over a full adult lifetime. But this doesn’t mean we can work tuesdays and fridays and goof off the rest of the week.


Can we at least have a stepping stone on our “way” to this far-fetched 15-hour working week? Maybe perhaps a 3 day weekend with 4-8 hour working days? That would be a start.


Only if they pay us enough. Otherwise we’ll be getting a second job, maybe third.


This will only really happen once we have robots doing most service and production jobs. Then we can afford to all be leisurely most of the time. But currently, we need cashiers working pretty long shifts, we need factory workers making things, etc. we aren’t at a point yet where we can just free everyone, but we’re getting there I believe.