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The real reason for the forty-hour workweek

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posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 12:25 PM
By keeping us working all the time helps keep us under control. Most people are oblivious to the things they are missing. Once you get in to the routine of work and a family you are trapped working to stay a float. It would be great to take a couple months off and travel to see how the rest of the world lives. Maybe I will be able to do that after I retire. If iI don't die first.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 12:36 PM

originally posted by: grandmakdw
Let's go back even further to several thousands of years
the work began upon rising
making fire
scraping skins
with no days of rest at all

Well that's...completely disproven. It's been proven that people who live in 'uncivilized' areas have far more time for leisure, and far less anxiety.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 12:45 PM
40 hour work week, yeah it could be worse. But check out were the good ole US ranks for Paid Time Off in the western world.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 01:32 PM

originally posted by: opethPA
Okay so I have put myself in that persons shoes, now what? When I work 16 hours day is it any less valid? When she works as hard on something different is it any less valid? Nope..Work is work..and it takes places at different levels, with different skills and different results.

Im not even sure why or when it became wrong on ATS to be:

1. Successful
2. Happy
3. Enjoying Life
4. Providing for my family and loved ones.

I don't think that's wrong, and some people have careers they love and they legitimately want to work as much as they can. Dream jobs are like that, those that don't have them can't really understand. The whole problem is that our productivity is through the roof yet our time at work is as high as ever. In the US we spend on average more time working than any developed nation and we get less compensation for that work. That is the problem, it's that in the US work doesn't pay what it should.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 02:52 PM

originally posted by: Telos
As the title says, this thread is about the work culture, mostly in North America and the reason why we have this system. The following is written by a guy named David Cain who quit work and decided to travel for 9 moths around the world, spending very little money and see what we miss because of our working schedule, what kind of lifestyle we impose on our selves while at work, how our lives change when we change the amount of time available to us etc. Then after 9 months he goes back to work and sees the difference. The following is just a thinking out loud and some very logical deductions that everyone can come up with for themselves.

The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.

I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.

The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time.

Suddenly I have a lot more money and a lot less time, which means I have a lot more in common with the typical working North American than I did a few months ago. While I was abroad I wouldn’t have thought twice about spending the day wandering through a national park or reading my book on the beach for a few hours. Now that kind of stuff feels like it’s out of the question. Doing either one would take most of one of my precious weekend days!

The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is exercise. It’s also the last thing I want to do after dinner or before bed or as soon as I wake, and that’s really all the time I have on a weekday.

I'm sorry, but the 40 hour workweek was not designed by evil corporations. For crying out loud this guy ought to pick up a history book and learn about the American labor movement. Yeah, we'd all love to loaf around picking goobers and smelling the roses. The problem is that you need to survive. And since the entire World is on a money-based system, you need a job. Don't like working 8 measly hours a day? Quit your job and be homeless. No one is stopping you. Just saying.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 03:27 PM

originally posted by: opethPA

originally posted by: Annunak1
Modern day slavery.
F#ck this system and the people that created it
We will break free

Guy probably does joke work all day. Most likely a desk job. Gets paid well, and he tells himself he deserves to make that for what he did to get there. Meanwhile the janitor at his place does a lot more hard work for 1/4 the pay. This is how greed works. Anybody that says this probably does not work with their hands and has no idea what a hard day of work is. Skyscrapers, houses, trains, cars. All made with physical work. Not paper work. Yet the money is always paid to the useless #. Its like saying the hardest worker of the pyramids was the guy that drew the picture of how to build one.

edit on 10-12-2014 by MikeHawke because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 04:06 PM
If we like the anthill... what we need is 20 hour work week, higher min. wage and taxes on incoming asian goods with free market only for citizens. If you need more money, have a usefull hobby but not a second job because you'd steal it from another person. I think it's inevitable with more and more folks on the planet - The Society 2.0.

Nobody screws with the union!

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 04:51 PM
a reply to: Telos

Telos, a star & flag for starting this thread. Halfway through the OP I had to go in search of this parable:

The Story of the Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

(There are many sites with the same story, this is just the one I randomly picked.)

It seems to me that we create a lot more issues for ourselves than we really need to. Where is it written that every minute of our free time needs to be filled with activity? That it is important to cram in as much "life, or living" into our existence as possible.

We are so conditioned to believe that if we can't afford to go to the movies or take week long vacations traveling then we are working for nothing. I like the people who thumb their noses at the "busy lifestyle" and can do nothing and be happy with that. Maybe our priorities need to be rebooted, and the rug to be pulled out from under your feet to make you realize that joy can come from blowing bubbles with your kids. Or just sharing a sunset with your soul mate. It's the devil in the box we call TV (among other forms of brainwashing) that leaves many in this society wanting what they can't afford and grasping for that elusive golden ring. Re-evaluate what you have and be grateful, as I'm sure you are like a millionaire to many less fortunate.

Maybe you feel that work runs your life and is sucking you dry, but perhaps its the lifestyle you are living that forces you into that dreaded job. Not everyone can adopt the bohemian life in the OP's story, but it sure made me smile thinking about doing it.

Just my 2 cents worth (which gets rounded down to nothing now).


edit on 10-12-2014 by YogaGinns because: tidying up

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 06:38 PM
What he's done is a luxury, a luxury that most people cannot afford to do because of prior commitments like mortgages, families, etc, etc. So it's very nice that he brings us this amazing news that not working and travelling the world is marvelous - but not everyone is in such a privileged position. Furthermore if everyone was in a position to do so everyone would be off enjoying themselves and the next time this guy needs his trash taking out, is waiting for the postman to delivery a parcel, or needs a doctor maybe they will be off around the world on their own trip and he'll realise that society might not be perfect, but it works the way it does because we all rely on each other to perform essential jobs and services that each other need.

The lucky few who can escape that, are exactly that, the lucky few. It would simply not work if everyone dropped out, as simple (and depressing) as that.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 07:07 PM
a reply to: Telos
I disagree.

For every source you have slowing how our ancestors had it so much better, I can provide one showing how they worked more, had to deal more with the threat of disease and starvation more, and generally had a much lower standard of living.

Yes, I agree the simple things in life are best. I don't need to spend money to enjoy life, but if I want to visit places I'm curious about half a world away, my job provides for that.

I grew up in poverty. I had nothing. In order to improve my life I worked hard. I worked two jobs, put myself through university and now enjoy my life much more. Is it because I have more money? No. It's because I can now do what I want, when I want.

Many of you will say it's because I'm brainwashed. I'm a corporate shill. I need money to enjoy life. Money doesn't buy my happiness. Friends and family do that. My wealth simply enhances it. I won't worry about retiring. I won't worry about my children's future.

While you all opine about how hard work is thrust upon you and how hard life is, I did something about it, and life is better for it. Where I live, of you did not have a very good harvest indeed, you could very possibly die during the long winter. Even our most unfortunate do not have to worry now.

I wouldn't trade my21st century life for anything in the past. Obviously you all have written off the stories your grandparents have told you about how hard it was in the past. Walking 20 miles barefoot to school. ......

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 07:16 PM
As a brief addition, I must say this. Those that have replied saying life isn't that bad seem to be a LOT happier than those of you who are saying how awful it is, how badly we are being screwed, and how much we happy people should be unhappy. Huh.

One thing I do agree with is the simple fact that those who are wealthy are getting much more wealthy. Yes, there is a huge wealth disparity. No, we shouldn't ruin our lives raging over it. There are still VERY many opportunities to make something of yourself and enjoy life.

Its your choice. I choose to be happy. Cant wait for the angry people to try and anger me!

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 12:38 AM

originally posted by: Telos

originally posted by: MentorsRiddle
I understand the message here. But, in reality, having a life takes money.

We all sell our time to a company, or job, for what we think our time is worth. That time is virtually converted to money, put into our bank accounts, and spent as we see fit.

Raising a family or doing anything of quality takes money.

I wish things could change, and I believe they will, but I will be long and dead before society changes.

As far as I understood, the message here doesn't deny the reality. Just explains it for what it is and why is it designed this way. So basically everything revolves around that 40 hours. The remaining time is exactly for doing the quality things which in turn require the very same money we spent 40 hours per week to make . Vicious circle at last ...

I wonder why I have such a unique mindset on this topic, it is like the man says, I don't see the point in reading between the lines (The forty hour work week started in Britain not the United States!!!!!!) unless you are just trying to attack his character because it differs from your viewpoint, who cares where it started, the point is the forty hour week was a victory for laborers , now, moving on.....

What I don't get is how people don't understand how the world works. Everyone wants to complain about working a whopping forty hours a week out of a grand total of 168. It is like someone said, we sell our time labor to businesses so we have the resources to do the things we want. Imagine the life of people even 150 years ago. It is true that we didn't work for forty hours a week because people could and had the skills to go out and hunt for their food, sew their own clothes, fetch their own water. But how much time did that take? Think about it this way, would you rather spend an hour working and have buy the shirt you like? Or would you rather wind up the sew the cotton for 7 or 8 hours to make it. Having a job today is only a natural societal evolution. 150 years ago, you didn't have to pay 10 dollars for that Steak and 5 dollars for that potato, instead you had to plant the potatoes several months in advance, then spend countless hours or days in the field making sure crops are turned and watered, etc. Then for the steak you had to breed your bull and heffer, you then had to graze them and make sure it survives and had to fight off wolves and coyotes to ensure it survives and then take care of it for x amount of years before slaughtering it and then preserving it. Yep once upon a time you ad to do all that for one nights dinner, wonder how many hours of oboe you put into that potato harvest, or how many hours you put into grazing your cattle. When you compare all of that to working 40 hours a week doing paperwork for someone else or receiving a fee for fixing someone's car for them, I think the 40 hour work week would be picked by and large.

Does this give you a bit of perspective now? the 40 hour work week is just another step in evolution. We went from the nomadic cavemen that could never settle down because they had to follow that here of deer to survive to rounding them up and learning agriculture to settle down so we didn't constantly have to move , tofocusing labors forming tribes and so on and so on to today. Deal with it, working in the office today is an exact end goal equivelant of the Neanderthals that came before us.

DISCLAIMER: This was typed on a cell phone, forgive spelling and grammsticals
edit on 11-12-2014 by chuck258 because: Disclaimer

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 01:10 AM
We have the technology to work less than 40 hours. We have to coordinate first. We have to streamline survival research, production, and repair. When we build a survival based workforce with technology carrying the load, we can break free from our mundane animal lives and enjoy our frontal lobes to the fullest. We will even extend our tiny life spans through leisure and creativity. We are all going to die someday and our brains will no longer function. We will no longer be aware of existence. We will have the thinking capacity of a rock. Why waste this brief moment of consciousness on work? We are the most evolved species on the planet. We really should start acting like it.

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 03:55 AM
a reply to: gentledissident beautifully put

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 03:56 AM
a reply to: VelvetSplash

And why is it such a luxury ??

Surely anyone can see that a system that feeds the top percentage literally TRILLIONS of TIMES more time and wealth than everyone else so THEY can have it all, is the problem.

It is not hard to see, that a 20-25 hour work week could easily be very productive, things do not need to be so tight on everyone all the time, but they are, and it is designed from the top down to keep people from thinking too much.

And it works, people are tired, slow and less productive working longer hours, I contest that they really do NOT get much more done often in those extra hours, just wastes everyones time with crappy work, unhappy workers, and a decayed humanity.

Pathetic system entirely, and it leads NOWHERE, PERIOD.

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 04:02 AM

originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: Telos

It has only been in the last century that the work day has decreased to forty hours. In agrarian societies, work lasted from sunrise to sunset. In the industrializing world, some factories operated non-stop, with workers working long shifts six days a week. The forty hour work week was a victory for labor unionism in the United States.

Look how many slaves starred that post.

I guess we should be happy that we only have to work 40 hours just to get by and still have no time to really live.

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 04:42 AM
a reply to: RamsOnTop

Hmmm, Maybe that single mother of three should have made different choices in life. Perhaps we shouldn't have lowered our societal standards to the point of a single mother of three being an OK thing.

This hippy dippy drivel of 'we'd all be better off without working' has been tried before. In the 60's they were called communes. Guess what? Reality doesn't work that way. You wouldn't have your computer or phone or car or anything else, except for people who work 40 hour weeks.

Then again, perhaps people should realize that there is nothing in the world stopping them from checking out of the system. Its called being homeless, and that WILL teach you a damn good lesson on human nature. Human nature isn't filled with love towards their man, its cold, ruthless, and calculating. We are both predator and prey to our own species.

All the time it took for humanity to crawl out of the dirt and filth and begin to truly advance and people want to tear it all down.


ETA Should have read the rest of the thread, some people replied far more eloquently than I.

edit on R532014-12-11T04:53:37-06:0004amThu, 11 Dec 2014 04:53:37 -060011AM by RichardA because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 05:47 AM
a reply to: Telos

I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.

a reply to: AeternusLux

Not to say we could just magically revert to a hunger/gatherer/tribal society and live happily ever after. But on the other hand, the idea that the only option we have is to trade time for money on a fixed fee basis (wage, salary, contract hourly rate, whatever) to me is a fallacy, especially in the context of the "new economy" (as discussed here for example.) On that note, Tim Ferriss's book The 4 Hour Work Week focuses on designing an ideal lifestyle to your taste, based on your goals, preferences, dreams etc. and funded by entrepreneurial creativity, with the specific goal of escaping cubicle land. He provides case studies and examples of how he and others have accomplished this, and argues that anyone with the willingness to put the effort in can do the same.

How about companies offer a new benefit where the employee gets one day each pay period "paid and off" to explore the more creative side of themselves. The OP said, and I believe this to be true, there simply wasn't enough time for it while working the 40 hour week.


posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 07:18 AM
a reply to: leolady
Would you pay your Mechanic for exploring his artistic side and not working on your car?

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 01:38 PM
a reply to: RichardA

those kids should have made better choices, and chosen not to be born am I right?

Social Darwinism is great when you're not at the bottom of the barrel.

Frankly the existence of social-democratic countries, despite the various demographic issues many of them have, shows that human nature isn't as cold as you think it is.

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