Jacob Rees-Mogg and the workaholics’ charter

Do you know someone they all call “the workaholic?” Come on, we all knew someone like that at some point. No marriage. No family-not even a pet. Couldn’t talk much except about work-which they always did, sometimes volubly. Always in by eigh,t always there until eight the same night. Always looked to be working-but how much did they actually produce?

Well, in England at least, their hour has come to take over the office. Because it seems that Jacob Rees-Mogg, our Secretary of State for Business wants to scrap the right to paid holidays, a 48-hour week and all those other pesky EU freedoms which were enshrined in law before Brexit. Our first link is to Ethan Shone of National World, who raises the intriguing question-will it work? [1]

At this point our old friend Dave Watford from the Dog and Duck pops up to claim “Cawse it will! Stands ter reason, dunnit? If we awl wurk ‘arder, we’ll show them French and Germans Britain is Great again!” Hang on Dave-if all those EU regulations are so irksome, how come countries like Germany and France are streets ahead of us in productivity?[2] As for GDP per head, we won’t go there in case it causes Dave to choke on his pint of real ale.

Evidence this may be so comes from a study reported to ITV, to which we alerted by the indefatigable Mr Peter Seymour. The study, carried out by Global Autonomy subjected 3300 workers in a range of companies from chip shops to corporates to a four-day week, with no loss of earnings. The result? Productivity was much the same-or even rose. Clearly the hours you sweat are not clearly correlated with output from the other end. So, what is?

We at LSS suspect the answer lies in history. No one worked harder, or longer than pre-industrial, agricultural peasants. Yet their productivity from the Neolithic right up until the eighteenth century was poor. It was only when machines were brought in, combined with new scientific methods of farming that productivity rose. Which it did, vertiginously. The moral? If you spend a little on education and new plant, you get much better outcomes for less work. Want to try that instead, Rees-Mogg?

[1] https://www.nationalworld.com/news/politics/jacob-rees-mogg-scrap-holiday-entitlement-48-hour-week-what-are-working-time-regulations-3855103


[3] https://www.itv.com/news/2022-09-20/why-a-four-day-working-week-is-a-success-for-nine-in-ten-companies

#output #productivity #four day week #jacob rees-mogg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s