What Happened To The 15-Hour Workweek?
We wanted something else more:
Well, one explanation is that there are simply more things to want. A supermarket today has thousands of options, and there will always be more things than we can afford.
Advertising—which appears on billboards, in trains and trams, on our smartphone screens, or cleverly disguised as a blog post—is now impossible to escape from, and it exposes us to a never-ending stream of products we didn’t know we needed.
These are well-known complaints. However, there’s another important and poorly understood reason for want expansion. Keynes thought that once our needs were fulfilled, it wouldn’t make sense to work more. However, it turns out that there is a certain need that requires an infinite supply of money to satisfy: the need for social status.
This ties into my writing on the UBI and why I don’t think it would end work as we know it. People will work so they can live around other people that work. So that their “station” is with those that also work.
If we had a 15-hour work week, how would we differentiate ourselves from the people that are only willing to work 15 hours a week?