TED Conversations


This conversation is closed.

24 hour/3-day work week with $30.00 minimum wage starting in 2013. Solve multiple social and individual problems with this.


Current worker productivity justifies the 3-day/24-hour work week.

Fairness, increased productivity, happiness, health, family values and many more positive human and societal values will be achieved if this is implemented in 2013.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Feb 22 2013: Rhona, I agree with the sentiment on which your idea is based. The evidence is very clear that the massive productivity gains over the last forty years have not gone to increased wages or to a commensurate reduction in the amount of work per week to maintain a particular income. If we accept the premise that workers should see benefits from increased productivity (and it appears several commentators do not accept what seems like a simple moral and ethical proposition of fairness), why do you propose these particular numbers? I followed your link, and then subsequent links, but I was not able to find anything more than hand-waving. Again, I support the principle you espouse, and a $30 per hour minimum wage with a standard 24-hour work week may be possible, but I would like to see the models and data that show this is possible.

    In 1972, when I was in grade school, I read a short news item in a newsletter that grade-schoolers used to receive in school, in which it was suggested that the government was considering reducing the standard work week by one day. I remember this item, because, at the time, I could not understand how the length of a week-end could be arbitrary. Wasn't a week-end of Saturday and Sunday some kind of universal constant of time? But back to the point, the average family in 1972 had a single wage/salary earner. Forty-one years later, and the individual worker is not making much more, if any, in inflation-adjusted dollars, but the average productivity of that worker has increased tremendously. Further, most families now require two wage/salary earners to maintain the standard of living of that single (middle-class) worker in 1972. The question is, was this outcome inevitable or could we have instead built a system in which the least paid worker today earned at least $30 and hour and the standard work week for everyone was only 24 hours a week? If the latter, how do we redress this obvious economic injustice?
    • Feb 22 2013: Maybe we could get some of the billionaires with consciences to underwrite the movement. It is obvious that labor leaders do not have the courage to call for this, even though it is obviously equitable and, I think, will increase the wealth of the nation in many ways. Some of the 1% are looking for good ways and places to put their excess cash. Let's politely request that they get behind this movement. I appreciate your input to this conversation.
      • thumb
        Feb 23 2013: Rhona,
        My comments only apply to the US. Another country may have other problems.

        I think that some of what you ask for is happening. The Bill Gates foundation and a thousand more foundations, charities sponsored by the wealthy to provide services for a number of noble causes.
        But, you speak of minimum wage, you speak of a complex financial and business model that has ramifications I can only imagine and for those who have made it are aware of what I am to say.

        Discounting the cost of shorter work weeks, and there will be some, let's just look at minimum wages. Cost of labor is in the cost of services and product and is paid by the consumer. This is as true as the law of gravity.
        First we look at wages. the amount that a worker receives is not the total cost of wages to the business, there are additional costs for insurances, taxes, personnel support, etc. all of which is added to the sales price of the product. When you buy a car, the cost of labor is averaging around $25 p/h so the jump is about 20% and the labor cost of a car is ca. 60% you can see the rise in cost. But cars are a big purchase and not done that often so the cost is difficult but doable.
        But, what about that big Mac burger? Labor goes up 4.3 times. We are now looking at $20 for a fast lunch; forget about that pizza and movie night. Now earning $30 p/h can cover those costs, it may be more difficult like the higher priced car. OK!
        Wait a minute, 30 p/h is $60K a year., Here come income taxes, federal, state and local could add up to 20%... now that 60K is down to 48K, but the cost of that burger, car or pizza didn't go down by 20%...welcome to the new middle class!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.