I'd say it's more than political. No, or at least, most companies would not increase wages to compensate for dropping employees to a 20 hour work week. They'd very likely keep the wages at the same level, and maybe hire new people, or more likely, fire the people who demand a 20 hour work week and hire people at lower wages (they are just starting now) to work 40 hours. Or if they did let them drop to 40 hours, they could now be called 'part-time' workers and be able to drop a LOT of benefits.
A 20 hour work week doesn't seem to be a very win/win case. More like a /win/lose or lose/lose in most cases.
I'm referring to the level of waste inherent in our own productivity. A third of it goes to the financial sector, which clearly isn't worth much. A sixth goes to various forms of physical security and its costs, which can arguably be reduced through better socioeconomic planning. Still more gets wasted in legal confrontations and the vast apparatuses that have sprung up to support them. Still more gets wasted by various enforced middlemen like Realtors and other people who choose to stand between producer and consumer to make a buck. More gets wasted on a lack of proper preventative health care. More gets wasted on insufficient treatment due to poor or bad insurance. More gets wasted - and we have at least two dead members because of this - because of incompetent or overworked hospital staff effectively removing productive people from society.
Another way to look at it, is we could easily be producing twice as much as we do now. The thing is, if you broke all of the entrenched power bases to make that actually possible... would people want to? I mean, sure, some would. But this wouldn't be an era where people would answer to corporate masters where 'most companies' basically consist of the Fortunate 5000 and everyone else. It'd be one where being self employed did not put you at odds with the parties in power, as it often does now, and the labor market would actually approach something that followed the Market Hypothesis, with millions of employers competing for labor.
At the risk of quoting a certain Coke Zero commercial.....and?
If you'd like to show me exactly when we as a global society were better off in the past than we are today, I'm all ears. Otherwise, this discussion has veered wildly off course from the board topic and as such, I'm done.
This is called 'moving the goalposts', a fallacy of demanding ever-increasing standards when lesser standards are clearly met.
It is dishonest, and not appreciated.
I have clearly pointed out that discretionary income has fallen in the United States, as has health care. You are now demanding that I show a clear, universal, global decline (presumably not counting the one we've been in since 2006-2007).
I didn't tie anything. You brought up the 20-hour workweek and the supposed "stress" of modern day living in the US, which I find a bit laughable when compared to say....a Jew living in Poland in 1939. I'm quite sure that situation beats any stress any American has about paying his or her cell phone bill in 2011.
And then you choose to Godwin the discussion. A reflection that people in this country are worse off economically than they were thirty years ago
, gets taken by you and turned into some social cause. In a nation with two million homeless, and nineteen million empty homes, you equate people living in Central Park, some of home have to let their children die because they can't afford a tooth extraction, with a one-off comment about 'struggling to pay a cell phone bill'. As if that compares. Of course even that doesn't compare to the Holocaust. Why should we ever contemplate stooping so low again? People have compared the modern-day US to the Wiemar Republic (though, thankfully, with a much stronger Constitution).
But there have always been people in horrific circumstances. In the 2000's there is Darfur, Myanmar, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria, in the 90's there was Rwanda, in the 70's, Pol Pot and Bangledesh, in the 60's, Vietnam, in the 50's, the Great Leap Forward. I'm missing a few.
"They went through a genocide" is not an excuse for allowing situations to decline. I mean, for crying out loud, that's how some genocides came to happen in the first place, including the Holocaust you referenced.
Because many were worse off in many ways half a century to centuries ago means that the suffering we have now in this country compared to the recent past is 'okay'. Things are in fact better for a few select groups - gays and lesbians. They are still horrific for transexuals, and hispanic and black minorities are losing the progress they made through the 70's, as are most people living under $70k per year.
Again, way off board topic, etc. etc.
Here's a thought. Would Black Friday be so bad if people were in fact not so desperate to save ~$50, as a whole?