The 36-Hour Work Week

The fact is, public-service journalism is undercapitalized, an endless dilemma for anyone trying to develop a nonprofit newsroom budget.

Thus, in the process of pulling together another skin-and-bones budget proposal, it seemed opportune to cut costs by strategically reducing the work week by four hours.

There are several ways to slice a 36-hour week — four nine-hour days, three tens and one six, or four eights plus one half day.

Understand that the economic rationale behind this is not one concerned with a certain sort profit-seeking, but rather long-term financial sustainability for a public resource in a hostile funding environment.

There is an important question as to whether this would reduce productivity. The answer, of course, is yes. What’s in doubt is how significant that drop is in the long run.

It’s also true that a reduced work-week or a three day weekend can be a good thing for the worker, whether a journalist with a freelance project, a parent, an artist or musician, etc.

Now, there’s also France’s 35-hour week to consider. Public opinion is predictably schismatic — loathing on the right and populist fervor leftwards.

I think that schism, however, is one peculiar to the for-profit economic mindset, or at least to the hypercapitalist ideal of Growth.

Sustainability is a different issue entirely.

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One Response to The 36-Hour Work Week

  1. Lance Mehaffey says:

    Given the current status of the “economy” we should all be concentrating less on what “schism” we are for and more for what behavior produces end results. Any salaried employee should be required to invest ample time slots to fulfill the duties of their described postion. If someone is an hourly employee then their ambitions and motivations may be lowered by a shorter work week. No offense towards the “frenchies” but I’ll take a forty-plus hour work week so lang as it’s feeding, clothing, and allowing personal growth; if you can do that in less than forty then take your chances!