"The 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work."

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@neauoire I don't disagree at all, but it's certainly curious how the 8-hour work day started as a dream of the labor movement, no?

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@roadriverrail @neauoire That's because people were forced to work 12+ hours back then, so this was the compromise with the expectations that it would decrease further as automation took over more.

We never got that next part because the labor movement was crushed as a result of the end of WW2. People took a break because the economy was working so well due to the 8 hour work week and high taxes and stuff, and when they woke back up, the demands had shifted to racial equality.

@roadriverrail @neauoire So yes, labor fought for the 8-hour work week, but it was with the expectation that we'd be able to work even less in the future as things wound down.

Nowadays, we're promised an 8-hour work week, but we're still back to the pre-1920s conditions of needing 12+ hours to afford basic necessities. In fact, when inflation is taken into account, we need *more* work time to survive than they did back then.

@roadriverrail @neauoire We're more enslaved now than we ever have been. The only difference is that the enslavement is slightly more equal across gender and racial lines.

@KitsuneAlicia @neauoire I'm curous about the expectation of ever-decreasing work hours. Could you perhaps tell me somewhere I could learn more?

To pull frame, I feel like big business would find a way to make any common work pattern "way too profitable". Finding profit in a set of conditions is kinda their thing.

@roadriverrail @neauoire I don't have any on hand, but I know there were plenty of left-leaning philosophers and union organizers from that time period that talked about how as the mining tech got better (because this movement started there), they would be able to work even less later on and that this was just the beginning.

iirc, someone had even believed that we would all be working 4 hours a day by the 1950s, judging by the scale of automation taking place with the assembly line for cars.

@KitsuneAlicia @neauoire I'm pretty sure I've even heard such ideas from the likes of Keyes and Galbraith. I just wasn't clear on if/how such ideas were being operated on actively within the labor movement.

@roadriverrail @neauoire Ah, idk if they were actively operated on either. I just know they were something expressed rather commonly by the various leaders of the working class' movement at the time.

@KitsuneAlicia @neauoire I'd settle for stated planks in the platform. It's just that philosophers say a lot of things nobody really runs with.

@roadriverrail @neauoire Obviously that didn't happen, but nowadays, we have enough people and machines to be able to work 2-4 hours a day and still get everything done that needs doing.

There's plenty of talk nowadays even from capitalists to allow salaried workers to just take off when they need it so long as they get the work done that's expected of them.

@roadriverrail @neauoire Here's a source for at least that last post.

(cw for some capitalist bullshit such as non-salaried workers shifting stuff around to work 12 hours one day without mentioning the fact that for health reasons, that should never be done)


But yeah, this is a commonplace idea. It's just that capitalists aren't willing to implement it because it means we might have the time to no longer be forced to pay premiums for the stuff we use.


Yah I think consumerism relies on the mental abuse of the 8 hour workday that keeps people stress spending.

Or maybe its that the idea of consumerism and capitalism is sold as a superior way of organizing a society because it finds the natural and efficient way of things and if capitalism has people working several more hours a day than is even efficient, it would compromise this narrative at a deep level.

At that point the cat is out of the bag.

@roadriverrail @neauoire

@KitsuneAlicia @neauoire Speaking as someone who's been at two different organizations with that kind of policy, the "take off what you need as long as you get the work done" concept, quite honestly, is not progress. It exchanges a defined benefit (which also often can be exchanged for money) for an undefined "privilege" subject to the personality of your boss.

@roadriverrail Oh, for sure. We're just saying that even capitalists can see that working 8 hours a day is no longer necessary, and they only do that much as a way to ensure they keep their slaves in check. The ones that prove unquestionably loyal to their masters get time off, while the more independent ones don't.

@KitsuneAlicia But that's really an incomplete analysis. It's a way to remove an enumerated benefit. PTO is a benefit; part of total compensation. In many organizations, they're required to pay out any un-used PTO days when you leave.

@roadriverrail Sorry. I meant the extra "privileges" like schedule shifting and stuff. My mind isn't all here today, so I mixed up the concepts. ^_^;;

@KitsuneAlicia @roadriverrail @neauoire How is that supposed to work for farming? I live and work on my family's farm, and I find the idea of working only four hours a day laughable.

@roadriverrail @neauoire the 8-hour work day started as a dream of captialists (Ford was a big proponent), because it made for easy shifts and gave people enough free time to go out and spend money on non-necessity items/services

Labor backed it because it was preferable to their current situation, not because it was ideal

@roadriverrail @neauoire And tbh, 8 hours x 5 days a week wouldn't be so bad if it was *actually* 8 hours and not "8 plus long commutes and unpaid breaks and waiting before and after shifts due to employer convenience because the exploiters have to squeeze every dime out of their labor spend"

@Calcifer @neauoire Interesting, because I've got @KitsuneAlicia saying it was a mid-term compromise for the labor movement, and it'd seem that it'd be fairly easy to achieve the dream of reducing the working hours of your own fairly powerless employees.

This is also beside my point that some backpacker's musings on how his priorities shifted after taking a day job might not be a clean basis for the idea that the system engineered the 8-hour day to create consumerism.

@roadriverrail @neauoire my statement and theirs aren't in conflict; labor supported it because it was progress toward a goal. Some of the labor movement hoped for fewer hours eventually, some were happy about 8 as an endpoint but also hoped for a wedge to other concessions; it's not a monolith, then or now

Sometimes the goals of capitalists and labor align; it's no conspiracy or fantasy. And I'm not addressing your original point, just the context because I find it interesting

@roadriverrail @neauoire as for the reducing hours of your own employees, yes. And Ford did so, for example. But he was also a strong advocate in convincing others to do so — others who were skeptical of anything the labor organizations supported.

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