24 in 4: By better organizing our human resources,
we can have a 24-hour workweek in 4 years
with more disposable time and funds
for self, family and community.
At the turn of the century, the average person worked over 70 hours a week.
In less than 30 years, our ancestors took advantage of the time-savings from
their time-saving technology to reduce the workweek to 40 hours. What was
their time-saving technology? The agricultural and industrial revolution.
Today, we are in the midst of the greatest time-saving revolution ever.
What are we doing with the time-savings? Are we converting it into a shorter
workweek so we can have more time for self, family and community? No, we
are converting it into unemployment, underemployment, misemployment and
discouraged workers. We are converting it into overtime. We are converting
it into the rat race, road rage, spouse abuse, child abuse, drug abuse and
Since 1930, if we had converted our fears of inflation and of unemployment
into a reduced workweek, we would have a real 24 hour workweek right now.
Instead, we have higher rates of taxes, crime, stress, violence, insurance
and usury, costs that reduce our 40 hour workweek to less than 24 hours in
terms of the hours we work for ourselves.
I have a plan to recapture our lost time and freedom of a reduced workweek.
I need your help and support. I am willing to pay you in the currency of
the future, the lifehour, a currency which unites the substance and symbols
of our time in solving our problems for a better world.
You are probably for 24 in 4 and don't know it. Take the following test
to see. If you answer yes to most of these questions, then you are for 24
Taxes The average person works 16 hours each week to pay
taxes. If you could cut your weekly tax load by the equivalent of 8 hours
of wages, would you be willing to work eight hours less? The ironic
Catch-22 of most tax programs is to help the jobless or keep jobs. When I
hear an habitual
politician cite jobs as the reason for a law, I say, "Dumb." If we work
less so others can work for themselves, we will have less call for taxes.
We can work less without loss of disposable income.
Interest cost: The average person works six to eight hours
each week to directly or indirectly pay interest on loans. If you could
reduce the interest charges on your loans by four hours, would you be willing
to work four hours less each week? Interest rates are historically high
even now because the Federal Reserve Bank raises interest rates each time
it fears inflation. If the Fed fought inflation by reducing the workweek
we would have 1% to 2% interest rates with fewer taxes to support the Fedogenic
Guns or Butter at the Federal Reserve: The age-old question
of where to spend public monies has a new twist: Where to have business pay
higher costs to quell inflationary fears. The policy of the Federal Reserve
is to raise interest rates which of course puts money into the pockets of
people who don't work and increase the cost of the national debt. What if
the Federal Reserve were empowered to start overtime at a lower rate? Business
costs would be the same as raising the cost of borrowing money. Employment
would continue. Purchasing would continue. Tax need and cost would not increase.
Individual, family and community stress would be less. But the people who
live off of money earned mostly by their ancestors would not have more of
a free ride. These are the people who are big political contributors, knowing
that in an era of election-addicted habitual politicians, a small campaign
bribe buys high interest returns. (Note: The Chairman of the Federal Reserve
Board has his own money in market-driven, interest-bearing bonds. Conflict
Insurance costs: The average person works six to eight hours
each week to pay insurance costs. If you could cut your insurance costs
by four hours, would you be willing to work four hours less?
Business Benefits: As employees are required
to work longer and longer hours, the quality of work per hour decreases.
If laws were changed so that there were no increased business costs, would
you rather have one unhappy employee working 48 hours or two happy workers
working 24 hours?
Disposable Income: One's pay has three components of which
the final net amount is significant. The first level is the dollars at the
top of your paycheck. The second is the dollars at the bottom of your paycheck
after deductions for taxes. The third dollar figure is what's in the bottom
of your pocket after necessary payout for basic needs: food, housing, clothing,
transportation, insurance and interest costs. Do the dollars in your
pocket after deductions and payouts mean more than the dollars at the top
of your paycheck? Too many people and societies go bankrupt pursuing
dollars at the top of the paycheck instead of what's free and clear.
Disposable hours of income: Your disposable income is your
disposable workhours of income. If you earn $10 an hour and have $50 left
after deductions and payouts for taxes, interest, insurance, housing, food,
clothing and transportation, you have five work hours of disposable income.
The average person has nine hours of disposable income after working forty
hours. Would you be willing to work a 24-hour workweek if your disposable
hours were the same or increased? By solving the costly problems of
misemployment-higher taxes, crime, insurance and interest costs-we can have
more disposable hours of income by working less.
Moot Money: The standard of living is not how many dollars,
yens or francs you have at the top of your pay check. The standard of living
is how many disposable hours of income you have after basic, necessary payouts.
The name and amount of money is moot. Weekly, wouldn't you rather earn
$1/hour and have $15 disposable income than earn $1,000,000 an hour and owe
money? At $1 an hour, you have 15 hours of excess, disposable work time.
At $1,000,000 an hour, you have no disposable work time.
Promotions: A 40% reduction in the workweek is a 40% promotion
rate. If your superior is working 40% less, someone has to fill those vacant
hours at the higher rate of hourly compensation. Would you be willing
to work 40% fewer hours if you get (a) a promotion, (b) a raise, and (c)
more disposable hours of income?
Shorter workweek, more disposable hours of income: After
basic payouts, the present 40-hour workweek leaves an average of nine hours
of disposable worktime money. Wouldn't you rather work a 24-hour workweek
with upwards of 15 hours of disposable work time/money?
Freedom and happiness: With a reduction in the workweek,
we would have more time to help ourselves and others. This would make our
world more secure. Would you like more time for self, family and community
in a safer, saner world? With more free time, we could expand our education
to work smarter. Or, we could start a business. Both of these would increase
the ability to reduce the workweek.
Family: Our present employment laws cause a lot of stressful
misemployment. Some people work excessive overtime while others are denied
worthwhile, meaningful work. Would your family be a happy, more functional
family if you could earn the same or more disposable income in less time?
Our misemployment policies cause significant stress which leads to abuse
of spouses, children, alcohol and drugs. How much road rage is tied to the
stress of work?
Parenting: Childcare is very expensive. In the short term,
the get ready and delivery time with the childcare fees and gasoline adds
up to 12 workhours of average income. Add in the higher rate of illness from
overcrowded day care centers. The downstream costs of failed bonding
and alienation are much higher. If you are a parent, and you could earn the
same disposable income in 24 instead of 40 hours, would you have a better
relationship with your children? With a 24 hour workweek, childcare
will be a pleasant recollection rather than a frustration trip of guilt,
for parents will be able to juggle their schedules to have one parent free
Students: Who has not heard that the average kid will not
have it as good as his/her parents or grandparents, especially when it comes
to retirement? The reason is that we have converted the time-savings
of our technology into causing chronic, expensive problems rather than
a "quality-of-life-improviement " by reducing the workweek. Would
you like your offspring to have a better quality of life on and off the
job? 24 in 4 is how.
Crime Reduction: In 1996, I was robbed 3 times in 4 months
by young people who had guns but not jobs. I started carrying two billfolds,
one for my job and one for the jobless. Do you think the world would
be safer if employment was shared so that young people were allowed to learn
the work ethic and have meaningful jobs? Please don't think that I am
soft on crime, especially hate crime. If you need someone to pull the switch,
I'll do it. If you need a switch, I've got it.
Global trade deficit: Every American product on the world
market carries an inflated price reflecting the added costs of our misemployment
policies. These costs include higher tax, insurance, crime and interest rates.
If we didn't have these added, unnecessary costs, we wouldn't be shipping
so many jobs overseas. Would your career job and retirement be safer
if U.S. products were more competitively priced without the added costs from
misemployment policies? If you want job security, support a reduced
Productive Deflation: If American products on the world
market decrease in price because we solve chronic systemic problems, the
cost will also decrease at home. This is productive deflation in which the
cost in time to buy something goes down because of specific and systemic
productivity gains. What good is a dollar savings if the savings costs you
two dollars elsewhere in your life? Would you like the
cost of living
(needed goods and services) to constantly go down in the universal,
uninflatable currency: you time? Considering how the name and quantity
of money is really moot, would you rather work ten minutes or one hour for
a loaf of bread? Productive deflation lowers the cost of products in time
regardless of the money amounts.
National debt: How big is the National Debt? Five Trillion
Dollars: $5,000,000,000,000! That's about $20,000 for each American alive
today. (No problem, let me write a check.) What is the National Debt? The
failure of habitual politicians to organize us to solve our problems. The
number one problem is jobs. When we have a recession and rising unemployment,
what do the politicians do? Jobs programs funded by deficit spending. Do
you think the national debt would be less if the politicians had cut the
workweek instead of using deficit spending to fund unemployment?
Every time politicians worry about their jobs, they legislate
pork barrel jobs to keep the people back home happy and voting. To keep their
jobs today they tax our children's and grandchildren's future. Nice gift.
Nice legacy. I'm sure our kids like that!
Government reduction: We can cut government size by more
than half. Where are we going to put the unemployed government workers? On
tax-supported unemployment programs? Do you realize how many government programs
have been created so as to have jobs for people? Should we reduce the
workweek to absorb the civil servants discharged when we shrink
Tax reform: Currently, the tax system consumes 6% of the
GDP. In a sense, about 6% of the population manages taxes. That is 2.4 hours
per 40 hour workweek per person. My proposed tax reform consumes less than
half of a percent of the GDP. What do we do with the tax workers? We could
put them on tax-supported programs. Dumb. No gain for the average person.
In other words, we would foolishly trade supporting employed tax bureaucrats
for tax-supported unemployed ex-bureaucrats. Should we reduce the workweek
to absorb the people unemployed from simplifying the tax system?
Tom Sawyer: Tom Sawyer got a neighborhood boy to work for
him and pay him. When able-bodied people can't find work but can find
tax-supports, they are the modern day Tom Sawyers. We are the neighborhood
dupes. Is it smart of us to work for the Tom Sawyers through the
tax system because we won't give or offer others the chance and time to
work? Part of me finds it funny to think of the people who complain
about paying taxes to support others when the complainers work overtime,
denying work opportunity to the tax supported.
Right to Work: Some will exclaim, "You can't tell me I can't
work as much as I want." Does society have a right to tell you that you
can't work as much as you want? Isn't that what you are telling the
unemployed or underemployed by working overtime? If you are working two jobs,
aren't you telling someone that they can't work one job? If two people are
working one and half jobs, aren't they denying someone a job. If four
people are working ten hours of overtime, aren't they telling one person
"You can't work?" If you work more than 24 hours a week, you are telling
the misemployed that they don't have a right to work as much as they need.
(Of course, you aren't working for yourself: You are supportng the misemployed
as only the taxpaying workers can. If anyone is legitimizing the right
of society to reduce the workweek it is those who are reducing the workweek
of others by working overtime.
Inflationary Bubble: History is full of inflationary bubbles
in which a person, country or continent lived beyond its means by cancerously
consuming the infrastructure upon which safe and secure sustained growth
could be achieved. Would you be willing to work less to have more wealth
and security in your old age? The stock market is an inflationary bubble
fueled by the excess income of people taking work from the misemployed. That
is, the stock market indexes the cancerous destruction of the work ethic
in others. The bubble will burst when there are insufficient workers to maintain
the putative corporate profits behind stock prices. Many retirements will
be lost in the general deflation of stock prices. Many overworkers
cancerously are consuming their retirement.
Working smart or working hard? Because we
unnecessarily work overtime, we work for others who cannot find
good work. And, ... we undermine our retirement. Isn't this
working dumb and hard instead of working smart and less?
Precedents: Restricting one's ability to work more than
a certain amount is not without precedents. To prevent farmers from working
themselves to death producing worthless bumper harvests, crop allocations
were established. Crop allocations are nothing more than restricting how
much one can farm or fish so that the quality of life is higher. If you are
drawing Social Security, you are restricted in how many hours you can work.
More prevalent is the omnipresent overtime which starts at 40 hours that
was established to try to share the work in the 1930's. Are you for
working fewer hours that pay more rather than working more hours at a lower
rate? We can eliminate overtime so that we do not have a rule
of the jungle competition for who can work harder, longer and dumber. Said
another way, if you are not for a shorter workweek then you must be for a
longer workweek. One would think the knee-jerk defense of the 40-hour workweek
is inscribed in the Upanishads or Ten Commandments!
Coming Boom Bust and Recession: Each economic boom births
a bust. Historically, the longer and bigger the economic expansion, the longer
and deeper the following recession. Would you rather see a reduction
of the workweek across the board to maintain full employment instead of
widespread unemployment, higher taxes, deficit spending, rising crime and
nationwide angst? None of our habitual politicians have a new plan for
making the next recession a soft landing. 24 in 4 is the goose down for the
next downturn. Pollyannas and ostriches will blame impending recession on
the messenger rather than use the forewarning and proposed medicine to ameliorate
Folks, ponder this final, summary question: Would you like more time
and money for yourself, your family, and your community in a safer, saner
world? If you would, the answer is to reduce the workweek. There is
a simple way to do it. Each quarter, overtime should start at one hour less.
In three months the overtime would start at 39 hours. In another three months,
it will start at 38 hours. In 16 quarters, we could have a 24 hour workweek
with more time and money for self, family and community in a safer, saner
If you have questions or comments, for lifehour credits you can democratize
them at On-Line Forum.