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Author Hermann, Christoph, author.

Title Capitalism and the political economy of work time / Christoph Hermann
Published Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2015
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xviii, 236 pages.)
Series Routledge frontiers of political economy
Routledge frontiers of political economy.
Contents Pt. 1. Work time theories -- pt. 2. Work time, production, and reproduction -- pt. 3. Work time struggles -- pt. 4. Conclusions
Summary "John M. Keynes expected that around the year 2030 people would only work fifteen hours a week. In the mid-1960s, Jean Fourastié still anticipated the introduction of the thirty-five hour week in the year 2000 when productivity would continue to grow at the established pace. Productivity growth slowed down somewhat in the 1970s and '80s, but rebounded in the 1990s with the spread of new information and communication technologies. The knowledge economy, however, did not bring about a jobless future or a world without work as some scholars had predicted. With few exceptions, work hours of full-time employees have hardly fallen in the advanced capitalist countries in the last three decades, while in a number of countries they have actually increased since the 1980s. This book takes the persistence of long work hours as starting point to investigate the relationship between capitalism and work time. It does so by discussing major theoretical schools and their explanations for the length and distribution of work hours, as well as tracing major changes in production and reproduction systems, and analyzing their consequences for work hours. Furthermore, this volume explores the struggle for shorter work hours starting from the introduction of the ten-hour work day in the 19th century to the introduction of the thirty-five hour week in France and Germany at the end of the 20th century. However, the book also shows how neoliberalism has eroded collective work time regulations and resulted in an increase and polarization of work hours since the 1980s. Finally, the book argues that shorter work hours not only means more free-time for workers, but also reduces inequality and improves human and ecological sustainability"-- Provided by publisher
"This book will provide the first comprehensive and systematic overview of the attitudes of different schools of thought towards the issue of work time. Topics covered include assumptions on what determines the length of the work day and week, changes in production systems and their consequences for work time, as well as the struggle for shorter work hours and resulting work time regulations. Having fallen during the postwar decades, working hours in many countries have either stagnated or increased since the 1980s. Furthermore, despite record high unemployment, permanent work time reductions do not feature on the political agenda in the current crisis.This new volume takes the end of shorter work hours as its starting point in examining the nature and role of work time in capitalist societies. Starting from the observation that work hours have fallen much less than could be expected from the dramatic growth in productivity and living standards, the author argues that work time is the result of social constraints and conflicts, rather than individual choice and technological progress. Accordingly, marketisation and the erosion of collective work time regulation play a crucial role in explaining the recent surge in work hours and the growing polarization of work time. In contrast to the prevailing trend, the book defends collective work time reductions as a measure to promote self-determination, equality, and an ecologically sustainable society"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 201- 227) and index
Notes Description based on print version record
Subject Capitalism -- History.
Economic history.
Hours of labor.
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Time Management.
Economic history.
Hours of labor.
Genre/Form Electronic books.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 1315745771