What happened to the 4 hour work day predicted by Keynes?

Nov 2014
399
ph
#1
What happened to the 4 hour workday predicted by Keynes as a consequence of technology enabling more leisure time for workers? It seems that in the US, your white collar office worker works more than his counterpart in the 60s, and the only place where this prediction seems to approximate reality is in Northwestern continental Europe.
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,385
#3
It has been implemented in governmental offices, where as the old joke goes:

they drew a yellow line in the center of the corridor so that those arriving late would not collide with those leaving early

But seriously , France has a 35 hours work week and the UK is mostly 37.5
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,056
US
#4
Actually, while unemployment is currently very low in the U.S., many are working hours that were once considered part time hours, for example 25 or 30 hours per week.
 
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Aug 2014
4,475
Australia
#7
Keynes never could have predicted the high percentage of today's population that isn't working at all. In Keyne's day there were over fifty workers for every pension/benefit recipient. Now there are three. In a few years it will be two. If the percentage of the population in the workforce today were as high as it was in Keynes' day, the average workday would be a lot less than four hours.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2019
130
USA
#8
I see a lot of large manufacturing companies shutting down on Friday. I think it has to do with shipping and receiving though. Not adopting a 4-day work week for employee satisfaction.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,602
Eastern PA
#9
I see a lot of large manufacturing companies shutting down on Friday. I think it has to do with shipping and receiving though. Not adopting a 4-day work week for employee satisfaction.
If a factory goes to a four 10 hour day schedule it is most likely that the manufacturing process has an inherent startup/shutdown delay in the process.

One example would be a plant that has a paint line with a continuous conveyor and cure oven. This paint line is emptied at the end of the production day for a host of reasons, such as issues related to leaving parts in the oven during oven shutdown/startup, leaving uncured parts on the line and the necessity to clean the paint booths at the end of the day. If it takes an hour for the first part to travel from load and unload, in an 8 hour work day parts are produced only for 7 hours, or 87%. By implementing a 4 day 10 hour schedule, parts are produced 9 hours a day, or 90% of the time. A small increment on some scales, but huge in manufacturing circles.

There would be other attendant cost savings, one example would be the required daily hour long oven preheat. With 8 hour shifts the oven is on for 45 hours a week for 35 hours of actual production and on a 10 hour schedule the oven is on for 44 hours for 36 hours of actual production. Another small increment, but the cost savings are cumulative.