More than half of Aussie men report experiencing sexual difficulties

Many men were concerned about climaxing too quickly or lacking interest in sex.Krista MangulsoneOne in two Australian men aged 18 to 55 have experienced sexual difficulty in the past 12 months, accord...

Jennifer Power, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University - avatar Jennifer Power, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University

Sanders, Harris, Biden... can anyone beat Donald Trump to become the next US president?

No sooner had the US midterm elections for Congress concluded than jockeying began for the presidential elections in 2020. Barring either impeachment, which seems unlikely, or a health crisis, Donald ...

Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow in Human Security, La Trobe University - avatar Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow in Human Security, La Trobe University

As many Muslims return to mosques today, they will need ongoing support

A worshipper lights candles at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch.AAP/Mick Tsikas, CC BY-SAToday, many Muslims in New Zealand will be returning for Friday prayers. Some might f...

Fatima Junaid, Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Fatima Junaid, Lecturer, Massey University

'It's real to them, so adults should listen': what children want you to know to help them feel safe

Children and young people told us they were often overwhelmed by the risks that surrounded them.from shutterstock.comIn recent months, we have been confronted by events that make the world seem unsafe...

Tim Moore, Associate Professor and  Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia - avatar Tim Moore, Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia

A brief history of science writing shows the rise of the female voice

Women played a role as both readers and authors in the history of science writing.Shutterstock/Africa StudioThree centuries ago, when modern science was in its infancy, the gender disparity in educati...

Robyn Arianrhod, Adjunct Associate , School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University - avatar Robyn Arianrhod, Adjunct Associate , School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Cannibalism helps fire ants invade new territory

Fire ant stings can be deadly to people who have an allergic reaction to their venom.Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr, CC BY-SATropical fire ants (Solenopsis geminata), originally from central and South Am...

Pauline Lenancker, PhD student in biology and ecology, James Cook University - avatar Pauline Lenancker, PhD student in biology and ecology, James Cook University

We've let wage exploitation become the default experience of migrant workers

Australia’s Fairwork Commission has so far this year examined more than a dozen cases of wage theft. Those cases involve hundred of workers and millions of dollars in underpayments.And it’...

Joo-Cheong Tham, Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne - avatar Joo-Cheong Tham, Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Jobs but not enough work. How power keeps workers anxious and wages low

The unemployment rate is 4.9%, but the underemployment rate is 8.1%ShutterstockThis is the third in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation...

Barbara Pocock, Emeritus Professor University of South Australia, University of South Australia - avatar Barbara Pocock, Emeritus Professor University of South Australia, University of South Australia

What Parkland's experience tells us about the limits of a 'security' response to Christchurch

In the days before the mass shootings in Christchurch I was visiting Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting on Valentine’s Day 2018. I was recording a story about ho...

Amanda Tattersall, Postdoc in urban geography and Research Lead at Sydney Policy Lab. Host of ChangeMakers Podcast., University of Sydney - avatar Amanda Tattersall, Postdoc in urban geography and Research Lead at Sydney Policy Lab. Host of ChangeMakers Podcast., University of Sydney

Friday essay: images of mourning and the power of acknowledging grief

These images of Cherine Fahd's grandfather's funeral were tucked away in a brown paper envelope for decades. As a society, we too often keep grief hidden from view. Author providedBefore her death in...

Cherine Fahd, Director Photography, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Cherine Fahd, Director Photography, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney

Local Māori urge government to address long-running dispute over rare cultural heritage landscape

Supporters of the campaign to stop commercial development at Ihumaatao.Qiane Matata-Sipu , CC BY-SAAn escalating crisis at Ihumaatao, near Auckland’s airport, is challenging the commercial devel...

Tim McCreanor, Professor Race Relations, Health and Wellbeing, Massey University - avatar Tim McCreanor, Professor Race Relations, Health and Wellbeing, Massey University

Grattan on Friday: Shorten's not getting ahead of himself, but the tape measure is out

With the election likely to be called in about a fortnight – the weekend after the April 2 budget - behind the scenes Labor is “measuring the curtains” of government.Any sign of hubr...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Will the New Zealand gun law changes prevent future mass shootings?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a ban on certain military-style weapons.AAP/David AlexanderAs she foreshadowed in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre last Friday, New Ze...

Rick Sarre, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia - avatar Rick Sarre, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia

NSW election: where do the parties stand on brumby culling?

Feral horses have severely damaged the landscape in Kosciuszko National Park.Travelstine, CC BY-SAThe future management of New South Wales’s national parks is one of the issues on the line in Sa...

Don Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, Deakin University - avatar Don Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, Deakin University

Confused about aged care in the home? These 10 charts explain how it works

Home care providers' profits are growing but many older Australians are missing out on quality care.The Conversation / ShutterstockThis week, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hea...

Fron Jackson-Webb, Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor - avatar Fron Jackson-Webb, Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Jobs but not enough work. How power keeps workers anxious and wages low

The unemployment rate is 4.9%, but the underemployment rate is 8.1%ShutterstockThis is the third in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

We've let wage exploitation become the default experience of migrant workers

Australia’s Fairwork Commission has so far this year examined more than a dozen cases of wage theft. Those cases involve hundred of workers and millions of dollars in underpayments.And it’...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

A new procedure may preserve fertility in kids with cancer after chemo or radiation

A 12-week-old baby female macaque, named Grady, was born from frozen testicular tissue. Oregon Health and Science University, CC BY-SACancer in children was often a death sentence in decades past, but...

Kyle Orwig, Professor of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh - avatar Kyle Orwig, Professor of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

March Madness: With gambling legal in eight states, who really wins?

The odds of more legal betting are good. AP Photo/John LocherMarch means springtime, but also breathless headlines of Cinderellas, busted brackets and buzzer beaters. This year, it’ll also inclu...

John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society, Pennsylvania State University - avatar John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society, Pennsylvania State University

Will more genetically engineered foods be approved under the FDA's new leadership?

Will food laws change as more GM foods are created?Zerbor/Shutterstock.comThe world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug...

Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University - avatar Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University

We need more teachers of color, so why do we use tests that keep them out of the classroom?

Teacher license exams often fail to predict which teachers will be the best, research shows.michaeljung from shutterstock.comStudents of color seldom see teachers who look like them. This is because m...

Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor, Michigan State University - avatar Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor, Michigan State University

Niger has the world's highest birth rate – and that may be a recipe for unrest

While fertility levels have declined rapidly in most parts of the world, many countries in the sub-Saharan African region of the Sahel have seen their reproductive rates go down very slowly, and only ...

John F. May, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University - avatar John F. May, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University

Nuns were secluded to avoid scandals in early Christian monastic communities

Margareta, head of the women's community at Lippoldsberg (in modern-day Germany) clasps hands with an Augustinian monk as he hands her a book.Lippoldsberg Evangeliary. Kassel, Landesbibliothek, MS the...

Alison I. Beach, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University - avatar Alison I. Beach, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University

A strange thing happened on the way to the leisure society.

It was once widely anticipated that the process which saw the standard working week fall from 60 to 40 hours in wealthy nations over the first half of the 20th century would continue.

As we now know, this did not happen. The official working week has not fallen significantly in several decades. Average working hours per household have increased. The effect is that many feel that life is now less leisured than in the past.

But why should it be?

Working fewer hours was once seen as an essential indicator of economic and social progress. I explore this history in my book Whatever Happened to the Leisure Society?

It’s time to put reduced working hours back on the political and industrial agenda.

There are strong arguments for working fewer hours. Some are economic. Others are about environmental sustainability. Yet others have to do with equity and equality.

Economists on board

In 1930 the economist John Maynard Keynes speculated that technological change and productivity improvements would make a 15-hour work week an economic possibility within a couple of generations.

A biographer of Keynes, the economic historian Robert Skidelsky, revisited those predictions in his 2012 book How Much Is Enough? He proposed legislating maximum hours of work in most occupations, without any reduction in output or wages, as a way to to achieve a more sustainable economy.

He is not alone. According to a report by the New Economics Foundation, a London-based think-tank, making the normal working week 21 hours could help to address a range of interlinked problems: “These include overwork, unemployment, over-consumption, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities and the lack of time to live sustainably, to care for each other, and simply to enjoy life.”

More recently, Belgian historian Rutger Bregman has argued in his best-selling 2017 book Utopia for Realists that a 15-hour work week is achievable by 2030, the centenary of Keynes’ prediction.

Broader motivations

Second and third-wave feminism tended to concentrate on women’s access to the labour market, equal pay for equal work, child care services, parental leave and flexibility, and men doing a greater share of unpaid domestic work.

Monowara Begum gathers torn and unusable plastic bags to recycle in a small factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She works about 12 hours a day to earn less than US$25 a week. Abir Abdullah/EPA

More recently, writers such as Nichole Marie Shippen, Cynthia Negrey and Kathi Weeks have argued that the quality of life would be generally improved if working hours were reduced for all.

British ecologist Jonathon Porritt described the leisure society as a “mega-fantasy” in his 1984 book Seeing Green. Many environmentalists agreed. As Andrew Dobson noted in his 1990 book Green Political Thought, they looked at the consumer-orientated, environmentally damaging, industrialised nature of the leisure industry and saw a future anathema to the green ideal of self-reliant and sustainable production.

But views have changed within environmental circles. Canadian Anders Hayden argued in his 1999 book Sharing the Work, Sparing the Planet that working less would mean lower resource consumption and therefore less pressure on the environment.

Some critical and neo-Marxist writers have viewed reduced working in the formal capitalist economy as a means of fundamentally changing it, even hastening its demise. The late French/Austrian sociologist André Gorz, first advanced the idea in the 1980s.

In The Brave New World of Work (2000), German sociologist Ulrich Beck calls on progressive movements to campaign for a “counter-model to the work society” in which work in the formal economy is reduced. In the Mythology of Work (2015), British sociologist Peter Fleming (now based in Australia) proposes a “post-labour strategy”, including a three-day work-week.

The Take Back Your Time organisation based in Seattle, argues the “epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine” threatens “our health, our relationships, our communities, and our environment”. It advocates for fewer annual working hours by promoting the importance of holiday times and other leave entitlements, including the right to refuse having to work overtime.

Workers marching for an eight-hour day in Victoria outside Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne, circa 1900. Wikimedia, CC BY

No time like the present

Despite these arguments, current prospects of working fewer hours without any reduction in wages seem unlikely. Wages are static. The pressure from employers is, if anything, to expect more hours.

In Australia the last great success in reducing working hours was 35 years ago, in 1983, when the Australia Conciliation and Arbitration Commission endorsed a 38-hour working week. Now reducing hours is not on the agenda of a union movement weakened by decades of declining membership.

But the 20th century did not begin with a strong union movement either. There were plenty of excuses not to reduce working hours, including the Great Depression and the economic deprivations of two world wars.

Few employers supported reduced working hours. For the most part they bitterly resisted union campaigns first for a ten-hour and then an eight-hour day (and five-day week).

Among the few exceptions were William Hesketh Lever (co-founder of Lever Brothers, later to become Unilever) and Henry Ford, who saw the potential for increasing productivity from a less fatigued workforce. Now countries such as Germany and Denmark demonstrate that working fewer hours is quite compatible with economic prosperity.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 24 of the declaration states: “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.” All members of the United Nations that have formally endorsed the declaration have, inter alia, endorsed leisure as a human right.

Not so long ago the age-old desire for more leisure and less work was a key part of the industrial and social agenda. Are we now content just to complain about lack of time? Or should we be seeking to do something about it?

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/its-time-to-put-the-15-hour-work-week-back-on-the-agenda-106754