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The W - Current Events & Politics - The 40 hour work week
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DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3506 days
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#1 Posted on
http://www.msnbc.com/news/949259.asp?cp1=1

Is the 40 hour work week dead? This article doesn't seem to offer much of an answer, but parts of it are an interesting read. Personally I think Americans work too damn hard and we should copy European work standards. I agree with this article that younger workers today (Gen Xers) are pushing for lighter work loads in order to better balance life with job. Having a bunch of money and no time to spend it seems to be something the 25-40 generation does not necessarily value.

DMC



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BigVitoMark
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Since: 10.8.02
From: Queen's University, Canada

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#2 Posted on
Younger workers today just want things easier. I don't buy this crap about wanting to balance life with job, mostly because the last time I checked there are still part time jobs out there. You never seem to hear much about working less for less money, oddly enough. That I could respect. To expect to work less for the same money is just lazy. Both my parents worked full time jobs and we still had a family life, it's a matter of finding balance. Despite what some people seem to believe, the answer does not lie in getting more for less from employer or government.
JayJayDean
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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#3 Posted on
I'm currently eating my dinner (microwaved leftovers) while sitting at my desk in my office (where I've been since 6:00 am) because I've got to go back to work in a few minutes and plan to be here until probably 9:00 or 10:00 pm. I've worked every Saturday, more or less, since about April and some Sundays. I get rewarded with overtime pay, so it's not like I work in a sweatshop, but I work pretty much a minimum of 50 hours a week. So I have the following to comment about the idea that 40 hours is too many to work in a week...

BOO-FUCKING-HOO!

Ahem...now that I have THAT out of my system...back to work. :D

(edited by JayJayDean on 28.8.03 1732)

Washington Huskies, 2003 Pac-10 football champs. Coming soon.
ScreamingHeadGuy
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Since: 1.2.02
From: Appleton, WI

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#4 Posted on
I like being able to work more than 40 hours a week, and being compensated for it accordingly. Those who whine about it can go sod off.



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...as is proper.

Michrome
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Since: 2.1.03

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
Across the board work week standards are absurd, if you want to find a job that only demands 40 hours a week, just expect less money.
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3506 days
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#6 Posted on
I don't mind expecting less money. That is in fact what my current job allows me to do...work less than 40, but I get a pay cut. I don't care because I value the personal time.

I hope to eventually land a job where I'm at "the office" (a college or university) less but take a lot of my work home with me. I'm obviously not suggesting that everyone have the same tastes for "at work work" that I do. I am just saying that Americans overall just put too much value on work and should leave more time for other things. Are 34 hour work weeks really strangling Europeean countries that badly?

DMC



"Baby you send me, baby you send me,
Set adrift on memory bliss of you" -PM Dawn
Michrome
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Since: 2.1.03

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
Yes, they are far less productive, and far less efficient. A horribly slow quarter for the U.S. economy is a booming quarter for the French economy. There are many, myself included, who would rather work 50-60 hours a week in order to afford nicer things and move up in the world. It's a totally different attitude in Europe, where the taxes strangle private enterprise, as do obsessive regulations. When certain things like health care, daycare, etc are paid for by other taxpayers, there is less incentive to work 50 hours+ a week.
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3506 days
Last activity: 3500 days
#8 Posted on
But we're *killing* ourselves! What is the point, so we can own 24 SUVs and take the family to Disneyland every weekend? You don't need to work 50+ hours to afford health care; it's all about balance. Putting priority on material things is what screws this country up, and does so in many ways. Sorry to sound so anti-conservative here, but I will always have criticism of certain capitalistic ideas so long as they deprive people of what is good and true in life.

DMC



"Baby you send me, baby you send me,
Set adrift on memory bliss of you" -PM Dawn
ThreepMe
Morcilla








Since: 15.2.02
From: Dallas

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#9 Posted on
I think it should be based on productivity and the nature of the industry you're in.

If you work a job that is based on time frames like fast food (when you don't know when your customers will show up), call centers, movie theatres, etc. Then one of the most contributing factors to the bottom line is: who many customers can you serve while the facilities are open.

But, if you work a job that isn't so time restrained, then you should be able to work a shorter week if your productivity is suffient. For instance: file clerk, project manager, data entry, etc. can all be finished with their work before an 8 hour work day is over or a 40 work week.

For instance, there is no way I could even work 50 hours a week at my job. There just isn't enough work load to justify the over time. But 40 hours is just enough. Granted, I could probably wrap up a weeks worth of work in about 30 hours if I really busted my ass. It would be of the same quality and quantity, just sooner.

I think it should just be based on the nature of the job.



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Michrome
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Since: 2.1.03

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00

    Sorry to sound so anti-conservative here, but I will always have criticism of certain capitalistic ideas so long as they deprive people of what is good and true in life.


As opposed to Communism, which has given millions what is good and true in life: Death and Poverty?

Some people enjoy working 50 hours a week because they want to retire at 50. Some people enjoy working 60 hours a week so they can take fantastic vacations to places they never dreamed they would be able to see. Some people do it so they can provide the best education possible for their kids. Or maybe they want to be able to take care of their elder relatives, which the socialist healthcare system in France has miserably failed at. 11,000+ freaking people are dead because of the disaster that is Socialism in France, but it seems to be a non issue. 11,000!

What you consider to be "good and true" in life could be worthless to another person, and in many cases, probably is. Some people don't like the idea of family life, and would rather try to conquer the business world than sit at home watching a baseball game with their child. It's all about freedom.
Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#11 Posted on
    Originally posted by Michrome
    As opposed to Communism, which has given millions what is good and true in life: Death and Poverty?


And Communism is the only alternative? Please...

    Originally posted by Michrome
    Some people enjoy working 50 hours a week because they want to retire at 50. Some people enjoy working 60 hours a week so they can take fantastic vacations to places they never dreamed they would be able to see. Some people do it so they can provide the best education possible for their kids.


People "enjoy" working 50-60 hours a week, because while working a miserable fucking job for an incompentent boss making more money, they can send their kids to college. Or take their two weeks vacation to go to some paradise they couldn't afford to "live" on their salary.... yeah, that's a great life.


    Originally posted by Michrome
    Or maybe they want to be able to take care of their elder relatives, which the socialist healthcare system in France has miserably failed at. 11,000+ freaking people are dead because of the disaster that is Socialism in France, but it seems to be a non issue. 11,000!


Put it in context - the population of France is 60,180,529 (July 2003 est). CIA World Factbook - France

That's less than 0.001% of the population.

And how many Americans die because some HMO won't approve the care they need (or because they have no health care at all). How many families were destroyed by Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, etc... or "profit making" layoffs by GM, Chrysler, etc. The profiteering of the business world has done so much damage.

So, based on your logic, I "want" to work 50-60 hours a week to take care of my elder relatives - people who have worked longer and harder than most in my generation, - because the current system provides little to know benefit for their contributions to this economy or this country (most of my older relatives are vets, mind you). And I hope I have kids (who will most likely live worse than me, as I will my parents, despite earning more), so they can work their tails off supporting me as their "elder relative". Yeah, this is a brilliant system.

    Originally posted by Michrome
    What you consider to be "good and true" in life could be worthless to another person, and in many cases, probably is. Some people don't like the idea of family life, and would rather try to conquer the business world than sit at home watching a baseball game with their child. It's all about freedom.


What about science, art, culture, music, education, etc? No one else values those as making sigificant contributions (and I am not talking about MTV)?

I know someone who works at Circuit City. At the store he's at (and I have heard this is corporate policy, but I haven't verified it), they eliminated commission and then layed off all of their top sellers. So on the books, they could remain profitable, and not have to worry about their top earners complaining about not making money. And if you did a mediocre job selling, you got to keep your job. That's capitalism.

Look, I'm not going to defend Communism - it was a fucked up system with many problems. And most of those problems are the same problems our current system faces - a very small amount of people comtrol the vast majority of the wealth. And its this minority that also happens to control the government... same as Communism.





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Michrome
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Since: 2.1.03

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00

    People "enjoy" working 50-60 hours a week, because while working a miserable fucking job for an incompentent boss making more money, they can send their kids to college. Or take their two weeks vacation to go to some paradise they couldn't afford to "live" on their salary.... yeah, that's a great life.


Actually, most Americans seem to love the way it is, and seeing how people are still absolutely dying to get in, I think it's fair to say it *is* a great life. Not everyone's job is miserable, maybe yours is.


    Put it in context - the population of France is 60,180,529 (July 2003 est). CIA World Factbook - France

    That's less than 0.001% of the population.

    And how many Americans die because some HMO won't approve the care they need (or because they have no health care at all). How many families were destroyed by Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, etc... or "profit making" layoffs by GM, Chrysler, etc. The profiteering of the business world has done so much damage.

    So, based on your logic, I "want" to work 50-60 hours a week to take care of my elder relatives - people who have worked longer and harder than most in my generation, - because the current system provides little to know benefit for their contributions to this economy or this country (most of my older relatives are vets, mind you). And I hope I have kids (who will most likely live worse than me, as I will my parents, despite earning more), so they can work their tails off supporting me as their "elder relative". Yeah, this is a brilliant system.


Listen, almost 12,000 people in France died via a fucking heatwave in 2 weeks. It was not that bad of a heatwave either, I was in Palm Springs during part of the period--it was hotter there. The problem with Statist solutions is that they replace personal responsibility with state responsibility. In France, they all assumed the state would take care of any problems, and as usual, government was inefficient, and this time lives were lost. Can you imagine such a thing happening in America because of a freaking heatwave? I'm sure you'd be here posting how it's not a big deal because 12,000 is a small % of America's population. In reality, if something like this ever happened, Hillary would use it as a boost for a national health care plan.

The idea that the "profiteering of the business world" has done more harm than good is absolutely absurd. The vast majority of businesses are small businesses run by individuals trying to put food on the plate for their families as well. People like yourself select out Enron, and then try to condemn all of capitalism because of it. What has done more damage, "corporate profiteering" or the struggle for agrarian reformation? "Corporate profiteering", or as I refer to it, "freedom", has lead to a hell of a lot more prosperity than any attempt to redistribute wealth. Capitalism is the epitome of freedom. The freedom to earn whatever you can, spend it however you want, on whoever you want, and for whatever reason. Extracting money from the pocket of one person and putting it into the pocket of another is not "freedom". It's tyrrany.

There are all sorts of ways to lower medical costs through the market by lowering regulations. I favor abolishing the FDA, which would make drugs FAR cheaper, but that's another whole debate. Elderly citizens have been locked into poverty because of systems like medicare that have driven the costs of practicing through the roof, and redistribution programs like Social Security that assume the average citizen has no clue how to save money, as if the government knows what's better for them.


Anyways, back to the original work-week topic, it comes down to this: Just because you don't like the idea of working more than 40 hours a week, it doesn't mean everyone does. Many working-people thrive on making enough money to give their kids a great upbringing. And here, they have the freedom to do it. It's clear that some hate the idea of the "protestant work ethic" that America was founded on, and while I won't argue that it's perfect, I think it's fair to say that it's working better than any other system that we've seen. You'd think that after all of the disastrous attempts at agrarian reformation, we could be done with this debate.
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3506 days
Last activity: 3500 days
#13 Posted on
I think you're still open to the "either-or" (or slipery slope) criticism. Just because some people think work weeks should be shorther does not mean we are going to taking the lands of farmers. Someone can still argue that other things such as family should be seen as more important. Whether or not people can afford to do so, depending on their job, is another matter.

DMC



"Baby you send me, baby you send me,
Set adrift on memory bliss of you" -PM Dawn
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

Since last post: 33 days
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
That law about whoever invokes the Nazis first on a thread loses should really be extended to the Commies also by now. This isn't the epic confrontation of Freedom and "Brave New World" here. Where does "agrarian reform" and such come from? Countering every argument about work or economics you disagree with with "Communism sucks" is like countering every argument about why the American League is better than the National League with "the Tigers suck."

Every industrialized country in the world has essentially a Capitalist system with soome degree of govt. regulation. Sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's not. Some times in in various areas, some times in others. It generally depends on the values of that particular country. It's not like the French are lining up to privitize their Health Care system, the fact that health care should be run by the govt. is more or less a concensus in that country, which is fine for them. The U.S. has a ton of government regulations that could be termed "socialistic," - several of which apply to the work week - and you can certainly argue that the time of greatest progress in America (1945 - 1965 or so) - and a time that conservatives tend to idealize - was also the time of the greatest amount of govt regulation, union membership, and socialistic policies.

There's several socialistic policies - for instance, the right to a free 12th grade education, or the right to have a fire at your house at no charge - that enjoy more or less a concensus here. Generally, what's considered an "essential" service in a society is run at public expence. What constitutes "essential" differs by society.

Liberals are never more obnoxious than when they present their one-line take on "identity" issues (for lack of a better term) as gospel. Conservatives are never more obnoxious than when they present their one-line take on moral behavior as (literally) gospel. And Libertarians are never more obnoxious than when they present their one-line take on economics - namely "more govt. involvement = always bad" as gospel.



"I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States Senator. It's sort of freaking me out."


Associated Press interview with Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), 04-07-2003.
Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
    Originally posted by MoeGates
    There's several socialistic policies - for instance, the right to a free 12th grade education

I don't think citing public education as an example of government intervention was one that supports the cause...



"If this cruel, loudmouth extremist is the cream of the Democratic crop, next November's going to make the 1984 election look like a squeaker."
--House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) on Howard Dean
Michrome
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Since: 2.1.03

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
Are you really citing public schooling as an example of *succesful* socialistic policies?
MoeGates
Andouille








Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.28
Successful or not, the right to a 12th grade education at public expence is something this country agrees on - the same way that the right to free Health care at public expense is something the rest of the civilized world agrees on. The arguments in this country are about how to best provide this free 12th grade education. I don't even think Tom DeLay advocates having kids pay to go to 4th period Math.

Now I personally tend to view anything more than about a 4th-grade education as mostly just good for giving teenagers some where to go during the day so they don't bother me. I'd much rather this country guarantee everyone free health care than a free 12th grade education. But I'm certainly not in the mainstream of America on this issue.



"I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States Senator. It's sort of freaking me out."


Associated Press interview with Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), 04-07-2003.
JayJayDean
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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#18 Posted on
    Originally posted by DMC
    But we're *killing* ourselves! What is the point, so we can own 24 SUVs and take the family to Disneyland every weekend? You don't need to work 50+ hours to afford health care; it's all about balance. Putting priority on material things is what screws this country up, and does so in many ways. Sorry to sound so anti-conservative here, but I will always have criticism of certain capitalistic ideas so long as they deprive people of what is good and true in life.

    DMC


I'd just like to say that while I appreciate the extra $$$ I get for the overtime I work, I could work 40 hours per week and still live quite well, and the REAL reason that I work so much is that people are counting on me to get things done for them and they will suffer if I do not come through for them. I work at a small business where I don't have people to delegate responsibility to (although I did for a while, !&^#@%* economy!) so it's up to me to make it happen. The fear of failure is pretty much what drives me to make the extra effort. In fact, I'm at work right now, though my other computer is busy working, allowing me to catch up on what I've missed here lately.



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Doc_whiskey
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Since: 6.8.02
From: St. Louis

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#19 Posted on
    Originally posted by Michrome
    I favor abolishing the FDA, which would make drugs FAR cheaper, but that's another whole debate.
I really hope you dont mean this. Drugs would be cheaper but also much more dangerous, much less efficacious, less potent, and half the time we would have no idea what exactly is in them (and if you are wondering about credibility I am a pharmacologist). The FDA is a pain in the ass and drags their feet sometime, but trust me we are better off with them then without them.



Mr. Burns: You are of course familiar with our state usury laws?
Homer:U-sur-y?
Mr. Burns: Oh silly me, I must have just used a word that doesn't exist.
Michrome
Head cheese








Since: 2.1.03

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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.00
No, I really do mean it. I fail to see why private companies can't handle the responsibility. The AAA does a pretty good job on rating car safety, and it's not a government program. We could just as easily create a Car Safety Association program by the government and put all of the private sector workers at AAA out of work...but it would force the prices on cars through the roof, and it wouldn't make them any safer. If AAA screws up, not only do they lose all credibility, they will get the pants sued off of them and will lose all business. The people working at the FDA are basically immune to lawsuits, and have no personal vested interest in the quality of the products they release. If there was no FDA, safety rating companies for medicines would pop up all over the place.

Many drugs that are considered safe all over the world are unavailable to Americans because of the FDA. The real way to make drugs cheaper is to relegate the safety check process to the private sector. We wouldn't need prescription drug benefits if we could eliminate regulation.

(edited by Michrome on 7.9.03 0216)
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I wouldn't go as far as you do Dr. Dirt. But pretty much I agree with you. The U.S. does have some policy problems. The U.S. is short sided. But evil no. Plus what does Canada have to complain about? That we invaded them 190 years ago?
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