Why don’t we work fewer hours?

Posner hilariously skewers Skidelsky:

They have collaborated on a book arguing that people in wealthy countries like Britain and the United States work too hard and by doing so miss out on the “good life” — an ethical concept of a life as “worthy of desire, not just one that is widely desired.”

If you ask someone to work half as long for half the pay, you should have …answers to his question: What shall I do with my new leisure?

It’s definitely worth reading the whole thing. A small quibble: I agree with the general thrust of Posner’s argument, but do we really work because we can’t think of anything to do with our leisure time?!

  • When we were moving from the US to NZ, we just quit our jobs and figured we would sort things out. Any number of people asked us, ‘what will you do?’, as if there were nothing else to fill our days except work. It was the strangest thing.

    • Hmmm, so this isn’t a weirdly Posnerian thing?! That’s odd, and slightly worrying.

  • Kimble

    I can just see this book being bandied about by the usual suspects, as proof we work too hard and that there exists another scientifically validated way of organising society. Citing the vibe rather than content. Ala The Spirit Level.

    • Maybe the answer’s not so obvious and we’re all just stuck in an awful prisoner’s dilemma!