"From 2015 to 2019, ran the world's largest trial of a shorter working week. An analysis of the results was finally published this week, and surprise! Everyone was happier, healthier, and more productive. Please pretend to be surprised."

🇮🇸 :blobaww:

"Workplaces tried out various time reduction strategies to accommodate the shorter work hours. These included delegating and prioritising tasks more effectively, having shorter and more focused meetings, and yes, letting meetings that could have been emails just be emails."


And now the kicker:

"The trials' success has helped Iceland's trade unions negotiate for permanently reduced working hours since 2019, affecting tens of thousands of their members. The report states that around 86 percent of the country's entire workforce now either has shorter working hours, or the right to shorten their hours."

This, ladies and getlefolk, is why we need unions. :blobcatcoffee:

So, let me re-phrase:

Government-run study, involving shortening the work week for government employees proves that productivity can be *gained* by shortening the work week.

Does business jump on that insight and clear opportunity to gain productivity *for free*, thus edging a competitive advantage on the market?

No. This happens only after unions get involved.

"Capitalism efficiently allocates resources" my arse.

@rysiek unions are a part of the fabric of government and business in the Nordic countries and have been so for quite some time. America seems to have some trouble with the concept.

@thor yup, not only Nordic countries. All of Europe has some form of collective bargaining systems in place.

(disclaimer, a Pole here, living in Iceland)

@rysiek ah, it's usually some lone American who actually needs to argue for their existence

@thor well, I am providing the argumentative ammunition for whoever needs to have that conversation with others. 😉

@rysiek there isn't much unionisation in the private sector but since the unions that exist are large, they set the expectations for the rest of the labour market.

@thor in Iceland unionization is quite prevalent, in fact. I don't have the numbers, but when I had moved here and got a local job, it was completely natural and obvious to my employer that I am joining the relevant union. Obviously so it was to me, but it was nice to see it so engrained.

@rysiek I feel like this doesn't make sense to capitalists because it doesn't fit in with this fake zero-sum view they have of people.

"You're saying that if we just... give people things they need, they will in turn be able to contribute more? And might even be more willing to do so? But... but that means they get something *and* I get something? And how does punishing them if they don't work hard enough fit into this? Aaargh! I'm confused!"

@monsterblue @rysiek this is a tradition from the times of the robber barons

they would rob ("tax") peasants of everything, except what was necessary for basic survival and production of the same harvest next year

if you leave them with more, they could get ideas

capitalists have understood that for a long time, if people have time, they have time for ideas.

we get paid per hour, and delude ourselves into thinking we could work less hours.
but capitalists don't just control the time we work, their contacts also control all the ideas we can think of in our free time

that's why all i can ever think of is that anarchy is good

@rysiek This was proven in the US during the pandemic too, workers were so much more efficient that many were having to find ways to kill time as they were at least hours if not days ahead of their work. It seems pretty clear that at least in the US companies don't want efficiency, they want control over the workers.

@taur10 @rysiek I think there is a stark difference in perception.

I myself (a people/manager manager) was super stressed out at the beginning of the pandemic because out of the sudden I spent 10–12h on Zoom per day.
I later learned that this was due to my poor calendar management and the poor meeting culture in my department.

I can see why the C-Level doesn’t get it. They might be stuck in the everything needs a Zoom meeting…

@rysiek@mastodon.social capitalist-stockholm-syndrome responses to these studies that i've seen are basically "that just proves that public sector workers are useless and don't do anything. this would never work out for companies that do REAL work"

@rysiek "capitalism efficiently allocates resources to enrich an ever shrinking yet endlessly hoarding class who then spend that money to create castes of society and institutions for the decriminalisation and preservation of the lucrative social contraption"

rambling on a bit on the castes of capitalism 

@rysiek "the castes all have a purpose. the extremely poor are the scarecrow. both an example of what you'll end up as if you don't work hard enough, and also just a scary bunch that'll scare you away from thinking about poverty by rendering it too disturbing to think about. the blue collars do the most important jobs and yet are underpaid as it's easier to replace them. the white collars are overpaid as they work easier but more disgusting jobs and are harder to raise/replace, so you pay them well enough that they don't care to negotiate and don't notice or alienate away from the disgustingness of their work. women are relatively underpaid in both cases because you can get away with it. with sexism, classism, racism, etc., you pit the three against each other, so they can't come together and organise against you. push fascism to the blue collar, liberal individualism to the white collar, these and then sexist pop culture to women. even the queermisia of capitalism can be explained in this framework. queer emancipation gives everyone across the board a taste of resistance and progress, so is thus extremely detrimental to a setup like this. then of course comes the class of shite collars. the managers, CxOs, investment wankers, corporate lawyer higher ups and similar, and politicians, who are the majordomos of capitalism. they are in the immediate circles of the rich. the run the system for the rich, and in turn are paid very generously. then, there are black shirts. the militia of the rich. they violently attack and suppress dissent, they spread the most disgusting ideas, they say and do anything that can be said and done. their function is intimidation, elimination, and infiltration. there are blue shirts, the police. blue collar workers organised in to a military like structure and singled out from other blue collars, so as to act as intimidation tools and ti apply legalised violence to workers when necessary. last, but probably not least, there is brown collars, as a force of intimidation and as a force to be deployed when exploitative actions abroad are in danger."

@rysiek Forced work weeks for all is not capitalism - it is central planning.

On the other hand, since I'm self-employed, I've been running 2-4 hours work days perfectly fine.

@rysiek Capitalism is not so much about production as controlled output. That which cannot be controlled cannot be optimised for profit. To be outside of the society of surveillance and control is to be a dangerous, subversive element, and potentially destabilising.

@rysiek like with any new discovery, there's some (IMO justified) caution, as it's notbcertain that it will work in every situation. AFAIU, the productivity gains aren't immediate, they only manifest after the organization adapts its workflows to the shorter week. And you don't know how long it'll take for a particular organization.

So as with any new discovery, there's a risk to being early adopter, and in this case all the risk is on the employer. The employee gains drom day 1

@rysiek So I think it's no surprise employees, who benefit from day 1, are ethusiastic about it, while emoloyers, who will only see benefits after a few months, are cautious.

@rysiek after a few months of presumably lower productivity, that is.

@outsider Capitalism has one job. Distribute resources and tasks. Does it do that well? No. It does it awfully.

@Sandra @kensanata @outsider What are you talking about? It does a great job if you are on the receiving end.

@loke Actually was writing a post about just that just now!

@Sandra Please share it when you're done. I'd love to read it.

@rysiek (individual) businesses do not have to. An entrepreneur (eg could be anyone, even you) who gets an advantage will make supranormal profits in the short run. They can sell their product cheaper, and pay workers more. The business who didn't believe will have no workers and no customers and run out of money, then disappear.

Warning. The market works both ways, so if it turns out wrong, the businesses that follow it will run out of money and disappear instead.

@rysiek we all know the modern work week is about keeping people busy so they'll spend more and revolt less, not productivity

@rysiek productivity is one thing. to own a persons life and dreams completely is another. and this you can only achieve with long working hours.

@benni personally I totally agree with you.

But my point was: free-market capitalists make the argument about efficiency and productivity *all the time*. So it's fun to see their reactions to something that proves a shorter work week is a good idea, and which proves it *in their own framework*.

They really have to twist themselves into knots here to "explain" why it's *still* a bad idea.

"This study shows that the world's largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success"

That is the catch, you are only surveying the people enjoying the benefits of the measure and silencing those who will pay the price.

In the private sector you can't shorten the hours worked and keep the same wedges without compulsively plundering the employers...

@lovizio did you just completely miss the fact that productivity went up or stayed the same, or are you purposefully trying to muddy the waters here?

Honest question.

Please, ask openly, no problem :D

How production is measured?
How that measurement takes into account subkective well being of the entire population involved in the economy?

My point os that it can't and thus it only is taking into account some arbitrary measire that show the result they want to show, metodologically is kind of weak, is a byased measurement.

In particilar in the public sector, is a problem harder to solve.

How the private sector "knows” wen some product/service is not required?:
Because nobody voluntarily buy it (value more the product than the price they are paying), thet reveils the preferences that otherwise cant be articulated untill that choice

Since the thaxpayer can't express their will by quiting paying taxes when the state uses that money for things they don't want, that things and services keeps being produced.

@lovizio productivity is not measured by how much of your stuff people buy. Productivity is measured with how much of the stuff you produce.

You are claiming it's harder to measure productivity in the public sector than in the private sector -- okay, interesting. Do you have any source?


Yes, but you can have situations of high productivity and cero well being, the case of a slave is a nice example.

Depending on who you ask in your study and how, you may get different results (ask the master, the slave, both... you get the idea)

@lovizio so, effectively, your point is that studies are impossible.

That's a starting point that makes any discussion impossible too, so not sure why we're talking.

Unless we can agree that while no methodology is perfect, studies still let us reason about the world.

If we do, then perhaps you'd be interested in this study by *Microsoft* that led to similar results (productivity up by ~40%):


Never say that, but to be clear:

Studies are posible but you have to be super cautious on how you set them up.

Maybe we are tlaking to not fall in the echo chamber of each one, kind of healthy sometimes. 🤷‍♂️

Assuming that both studies are right and that is the outcome of changing the hours worked, that would be a killer, companies and unions both will be pleased, needless to say the current governament, if that is trully a win win situation, but why do you think is not implemented?

@lovizio somebody already put it pretty well somewhere in this thread: it just doesn't fit with the "life is a zero-sum game" philosophy deeply embedded in and internalized by capitalism.

The problem is that life is not, in fact, a zero-sum game. These studies are a good reminder of that.


Capitalism doesn't say that life is a cero sum game.

I don't think is a cero sum game in this regard (obviously othe field it is, but you get my point) that other point in wicj we both agree

Even more! Thay guy von Mises, also say it is Not a cero sum game, so maybe there you can find something interesting. And actually he proves you are kind of right by believing that.

So lets try to assume less what the other is saying or thinking and just ask

...Then don't be surpriced if less business are willing to open in places with that regulation...

...In the publisc sector, by definition you are plundering the thaxpayer who will pay for the rise in the cost of each hour worked by the public employee.

If people didn't voluntarily accepted without state cohersion, it is becaus it can't be done without damaging other sectors, the whole picture must be taken into account if you are really looking to understand how things work.

@lovizio oh man, no seriously, which part of "productivity stayed the same or improved" do you not understand?


It begs the question: then if productivity increases why you need to force people to adopt it?

Why didn't other company developed that and used to their advantage like historically companies have made by developing improvements on the human resouces?

@lovizio I literally *just* linked you to a Microsoft study with very similar results.

But the question is valid: indeed, *why* didn't businesses adopt a shorter work week it yet, even though there are multiple studies showing increased productivity?

To me, it speaks volumes about the wastefulness and irrationality of the private sector.


To me is because someone in that sistem is not willing to voluntarily accept it for some resason and that shuld be taken seriously because that is how the things that are hard to see or understand are expressed. The provate sector acting in freedom os not irratoonal, is so complex and above our understanding that *looks* irrational for people.

Similar to the Artur C. Clarke quote

"Any sufficiently advanced tecnology is indistiguishable from magic"

@lovizio well that's just hand-waving and saying capitalism is magic and whatever corporate overlords do is good, and if it seems bad, it's because we can't understand their intricate reasoning. :blobwizard:

Meanwhile, Canada is burning due to short-sighted decisions of these same corporate overlords.

To use capitalist parlance: I ain't buying what you're selling here.


In part you are right, not all things irrational in apperience are sometimg we don't undertand, is good to state ot clear. But at least you got my point 👍

You don't *have to* that wouldn be interesting, just wanted some different perspective

*Is not the intricated reasoning of "their" (overlord) os the intrincated *consequences* of our day to day choices, who said that our understanding of everything is unlimitted?

Some effects are hard to undrstand, the long lasting comsequences of a policie implemented, and the casual relatipn in wich produced some ouput - Give ot a read to " Which We See and That Which We Do Not See" | Frédéric Bastiat


In short, if you have to enforce a policie you can bet that someone is being harmed in some way, it may be a more obvious way or maybe something imposible to articulate.

The policie maker don't (and can't) know how te people affected by the regulations subjectively value the "things they are givin up"(money, time, etc...) an the things they are gainin, so there is no way that person A can decide for person B what is best for him/her. It is a matter of information.



I'm just against social engeneering in general, that never go well in the long run.

As I shared in this thread yesterday, an article by Frederic Bastiat, "That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen" will explain the idea better infinitly than me. And show why se really bad policies are so easy to "sell" and really tempting at first glance.



They can certainly try, but people (particular cases aside) learn how to deal with new things, new behabiours are discovered over time with the power of trial and error of millions of people and keeping the practices that turn out to be the best.



If social networks are something adictive and harmfull, what make you belive that the people won't react in consequence?, the mere fact that you and me are discussing this using mastodon as an alternative to the problem that you're showing kind of proves my point, we are learning how to deal with this, time will tell

For the sources you can take a look at

{Analitical backgrond, praxeology}
- Human Action | von Mises

{For the metodology of the study, what thy show and what they don't}
- How to lie with statistics (short and kind of fun reading, independently of political views)

{Historical references and some other perpectives}
- Why the nations fail | Acemoglue & Robinson

@rysiek I think it'd be interesting to binsearch the optimum. At which point shortening the work weekbstops improving things and starts making them worse?

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