Work – what is it good for?

Is the five day week a good idea?


Now I realise that the five day week is somewhat notional, and many people work shifts, part time, weekends and so forth, but in the round a lot of us spend a lot of time working when we could be doing something else. Not all of us love our jobs (and congratulations to those for whom work is a vocation) and it being Friday I thought I would have a quick rant…

Adam Smith

Now in my simplistic world view, modern capitalism stems from the seminal work by Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations). From this we get markets and we also get efficiency, meaning we get more GDP per head (i.e. output per working person.)

My understanding (that I can’t source as I haven’t actually read the book!) is that Adam Smith’s idea was that by being more efficient we could all work less and produce the same output! Needless to say this hasn’t happened, instead we all work hard (ok not the six days that we may have done in the 19th century) but we still work more than half the week!

Just imagine

Now, just imagine if we had taken the other path; we would all do two or three days paid work and spend the rest of our time in art, culture, charitable works and building a more utopian world. Of course we would have slower change in society, less drive toward consumer durables and all still be living in a much simpler world with no computers, internet, TV and so forth.

Would we be worse of? You decide!


About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Lead Writer for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

One Response to Work – what is it good for?

  1. Pingback: Us and Them « Reality Checkpoint

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