Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Work less, consume less

A report filed by Reuters says that the recession in the USA is “a rude awakening for a generation of shoppers who grew up on easy access to credit and have never had to limit purchases to simply what they needed or could afford. Instead, buying and consuming have become part of the national culture, with many people using what is in their shopping bags to express their own identity, from the latest gadgets to designer handbags.

For those who need to abruptly curtail spending, that leaves a major void…People that have been ... identifying with and defining themselves by their material objects and expenditures are losing a definite piece of their identity and themselves”. ,

The article concludes that the downturn represents a chance to move away from "irrational" and "careless" consumerism toward "a more discerning consumer."

All very easily said. How does one curtail consumption?

Tim Harford asks in his post, “Why don’t we all simply work less, earn less, spend less and consume less?” The typical British man, he says, earns roughly twice what his father earned at the same age. When today’s teenagers are in their forties, there is no reason why they shouldn’t decide to enjoy their increased prosperity by working less instead of earning more. Rather than being twice as rich as their parents, they could be no richer but start their weekends on Wednesday afternoon.

The difficulty in attempting to working less and earning less today is that income is linked to our desire for status, which is collectively insatiable because status is largely relative. If my neighbour has a bigger car, I crave for one too. So, the solution is to force everyone to work less, earn less and consume less.

To begin with, why don’t we abolish Mondays from our calendar?


Usha said...

I actually prefer if tuesdays were abolished - can we work this out among ourselves please. or can we try and abolish only the working hours part of both days and arrive at a solution?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Abolishing Monday or for that matter Tuesday will help, but not much. Instead off 52 7 day weeks, we will have to deal with almost 61 6 day weeks every year. Assuming 5 & 4 working days for 7 & 6 day weeks we arrive at 260 and 244 working days a year, a reduction of 16 working days every year.

Having 3 days holidays/week will ensure 208 working days, a reduction of 52 days.

Environment degradation will also be reduced in addition to improvement in the overall health index.

Raj said...

Usha, you want Tuesdays off? That complicates things a bit, but let's discuss.

Sankar, you got the point. My system gives you 57 extra holidays,