Timesizing® Associates - Homepage
Timesizing News, June 6-13, 2003
[Commentary] ©2003 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080
6/13/2003 worktime consciousness in the news today = glimmers of strategic hope -
6/12/2003 worktime consciousness in the news today = glimmers of strategic hope -
- Live well (over there), letter to editor from Edward Chick of Chicago, NYT, A30.
"Why America outpaces Europe," by Niall Ferguson (Week in review, June 8), is an example of confusing correlation with causality. Just because Europeans have a diminished interest in religion doesn't mean they automatically want to work less.
[Huh? We have recently dropped our NYT subscription cuz they're charging 15 cents/issue more for subscription than newstand and we need the exercise of promenading to the bottom of the hill and back to get the paper from the newstand. Plus it gives us the chance to get just the Tue-Sat issues that have the Company News column instead of wasting time and money on the Sun-Mon issues that are mostly fluff. June 8 was last Sunday, so we didn't get that issue, but evidently Niall Ferguson was making a fool of himself bashing Europe for being less superstitious and more efficient.]
Perhaps taxation has something to do with it, or declining birthrates and low immigration.
[Europe generally has higher taxes and much more public services than the litter-rife, violent and generally deteriorating USA. Europe has also entered the 21st century with sensible population policies, while the U.S. is still back in the 19th century, further eroding its living standards with deepening overpopulation, never mind spreading water shortages in the west and elsewhere.]
Or perhaps they don't want to work as hard because they are relatively content and don't need an extra S.U.V.
[That assumes working long hours is a choice. More likely Europeans don't have to work as long hours as Americans because they have preserved the power of labor and have stumbled into worksharing (and market preservation) by cutting worktime, mostly on a workyear basis (= longer vacations).]
And besides, the net quality of life in most of Europe, as measured by the United Nations, is actually higher in terms of healthcare, longevity, education, crime and even equal opportunity - and the vacation time is excellent.
[At last, an American who realizes that America is no longer the best country to live in, mostly because of the near-sightedness of its own ruling elite, who want to grab more and more and more regardless of their own growing isolation, personal insecurity, and insulation (and diabetes!). They have set up a self-reinforcing imbalance in the centrifugal and centripetal forces on the national income, which is now so concentrated as to be vacuuming the markets away from its own investments. Europe really isn't too much more clued-in on this, but while Americans trumpet their neo-conservativism and plummet quickly down to 3rd-world levels, Europeans are more genuinely conservative and are sliding more slowly downwards - let's estimate 10-15 years behind the U.S. in socio-economic deterioration, similar to Canada. And all it takes is obsoleting unemployment and the associated consumer-market wastage with automatic workspreading as technology takes-over human employment. So to be honest, Niall's article should have been titled "Why America outpaces Europe in unnecessarily long working hours, self-deception and...the race to the bottom."]
- Draft guidelines aim to boost rate of child-care leave, Kyodo 06/12/03 04:50 EDT via AOLNews.
TOKYO...- The Health, Labor & Welfare Ministry on Thursday released draft guidelines for companies to draw up action plans to enable their workers to take time off for childcare from fiscal 2005. The move comes amid deliberations in the Diet [Japan's Congress] over a bill on support measures for childcare, which include setting targets for the rate [huh? do they mean 'limit'] of workers taking childcare leaves, as well as promotion of paternity leave. The Ministry is expected to come up with final guidelines during the summer.
The bill, if enacted, will oblige companies with more than 300 workers from fiscal 2005 to draw up their own plans based on the guidelines.
[Japan should quit screwing around with micromanagement and population-growth subsidies and just CUT THE WORKWEEK for everyone!]
Apart from childcare leave, the draft guidelines also include the introduction of a system of shorter working hours for employees until their children go to elementary schools.
[Again, this is just going to either encourage overpopulation or punish parents, either way destructive. Japan needs to restore full employment, and as probably the world's most technologized economy, the only way they can sustainably do that is worksharing. Get going, Japan! You've already started on the corporate, municipal and prefectural levels (see roundup in commentary on 5/30/2003 #3).]
The guidelines also stipulate the importance of setting up day-care centers within office premises, providing assistance for the wages of babysitters, and giving the employees concerned limited assignments.
[Cut the micromanagement and just get everyone's free time up to where it should be for an economy at your high levels of technological efficiency and productivity!]
They [the guidelines] also include the introduction of work-sharing schemes and reducing overtime hours by designating a week or a day without any overtime.
[Again, the goal is good but designating particular weeks or days is micromanagement. Get into flexible systemic worksharing and put it first, not last.]
- Union leader: I'll fight Schroeder plans, by David McHugh, AP 06/12/03 14:59 EDT via AOLNews.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder faces many hurdles in shaking up [and stagnating further?] Germany's stagnant economy by cutting worker protection and social benefits, but a sharp-tongued labor leader may be his biggest antagonist. Juergen Peters, incoming chief of Germany's biggest factory union [IG Metall], is a tough-talking traditionalist who [feels quite] at home whipping up strikers with fiery speeches - and has no time for economists and business leaders who say Germans must give up plush health and unemployment benefits to get the economy going again....
[The more you hammer your workforce, the more you hammer your consumer base, shrink your own markets and cut your own throat.]
To Peters, formerly communist east Germany is an example of why lower wages don't boost the economy. The area remains economically depressed even though workers there have been paid less since German...reunification in 1990 - a gap IG Metall is trying to even out with a strike in eastern industry to shorten the workweek by 3 hours to the 35 hours worked in the west.
[In previous stories, we've seen wording such as, shorten the workweek to spread the work and shrink east Germany's high unemployment. We saw in 6/05/2003 #2 below that IG Metall, and by implication, its leader (Peters), is aware and supportive of this key function of workweek reduction, that despite the flawed charges of "Lump of labor fallacy" from some mainstream economists, generally worked well for the 150 years before 1940 when the workweek was cut in half and wages were multiplied. As U.S. retail leader Edward Filene said in 1931 ("Successful Living in This Machine Age," page 1), "For selfish business reasons, therefore, genuine mass production industries must make prices lower and lower and wages higher and higher, while constantly shortening the workday and bringing to the masses not only more money but more time in which to use and enjoy the ever-increasing volume of industrial products."]
"All of east Germany has been a low wage zone for more than 10 years," Peters [said]. "If the neoliberal theories were correct, then we would have a blooming [economy] there. It's always a question of who carries the burden.... And the neoliberal view is that we need more disparity, [a few] more rich and [many] more poor, because they dream that if the poor are poor enough, they will accept any offer."
..\.."We need more consumers with purchasing power," he said. "An auto company brings out a wonderful new family car, the only thing is they don't have any customers with any purchasing power."
..\..Peters attacked proposals to make it easier to [lay off] people, and to make employees pay a bigger share to insure against long-term disability. That just shifts costs from [wealthy] employers to [non-wealthy] workers, Peters said. Average earners don't have enough money in their pockets, so they shouldn't be asked to contribute more to economic 'reforms,' he said [our quotes].
..\..Workers [in west Germany] have extensive rights to fight layoffs in expensive, time-consuming court proceedings, and payroll taxes of over 40% make industrial labor the most expensive in the world.
[Germany should switch from payroll taxes, which discourage hiring, to graduated income taxes in the interval before timesizing brings them full employment and little or no public costs for unemployment insurance, welfare, disability and prisons. Once timesizing takes over, even those taxes can be safely reduced, without any risk to higher German living standards.]
Many companies have responded by moving production to Eastern Europe or other low-wage countries and unemployment is chronically high at 10.4% [over 19% in east Germany]....
[That's easy. If companies don't contribute to Germany's "bloated" labor costs, they should not be able to profit from Germany's otherwise shrunken consumer markets. And if the EU can't accommodate that kind of sustainable policy, change it or leave it. A prematurely inflexible EU could kill every strong economy among its membership.]
6/11/2003 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news today = glimmers of strategic hope -
- [So what have those White House champions of family values done for/to your family lately? -]
Long military deployment strain families, by James Hannah, AP 06/11/03 15:45 EDT via AOLNews.
...In Amherst, NY, at least six of the town's 700 employees were called overseas. That means more work hours for some others who cover the gap, says Susan Grelick, the town supervisor. The community has spent about $87,000 in overtime in the police and recreation departments.
[All unnecessary except to violent self-righteous simpletons who attacked a nation with no WMDs or ties to terrorists, and still haven't caught Osama or Hussein.]
..\..Army Sgt. Travis Hattaway, away from home since Feb. 28, has missed the milestones of his 7-month-old son, Darby. ...Says [wife] Sarah Hattaway, of Kansas City, Mo., "He missed crawling and standing and teething. There are definitely some days that make me feel like a single parent."...
Lynn Brinker [of Columbia, Md.], a part-time social worker, estimates her family has lost about $30,000 because her husband's [Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class] military pay is half of his civilian pay. She cashed in $7,000 worth of savings bonds meant for their children's education [3 sons, ages 13, 10, 5], took out a $15,000 bank loan and borrowed $15,000 from a relative, which she has repaid..\.. (Military pay is based on rank and years of service, and is unrelated to what reservists make in their civilian jobs.)... The couple['s sons are] "going through a very hard time with their father gone," she says. "Nobody else's dad is missing, just theirs."
[Guess he was the only one dumb enough to join the reserves and expose himself to this kind of risk during this kind of flag-greasing administration.]
..\..Mark Brinker, also a military policeman, returned last September, then was called up in March and sent to Kuwait and Iraq. "He has no clue when he's coming home," [Lynn] said....
[The way things are going over there, you all be lucky if he comes home at all. And this is a guy who has his own small business?! -]
..\..Lynn Brinker shut down her husband's home improvement business in Columbia, Md., when he was sent to Texas soon after 9/11/01. [Now he] was called up in March...his business was idled again. "People are moving on to other contractors," his wife says....
[It would be nice if this war had had a grain of sense to it - to justify all this cost and sacrifice to American families (and through them, to the American economy and the American future).]
- East German workers vote to expand strike, AP 06/10/03 08:20 via AOLNews.
BERLIN - Eastern German manufacturing workers pushing for a reduced workweek have voted to expand their strike campaign to a new region, escalating their dispute with employers, Germany's biggest industrial union said Tuesday. In a strike ballot that began Friday, the IG Metall union said 78.8% of factory workers who voted in Berlin and the surrounding Brandenburg state voted to go on strike over the demand, which employers contend will scare potential investors away from the economically depressed region.
[As if they need outside investors, rather than simply mobilizing their own consumer base by spreading the work and sending those 19% unemployed shopping!]
The strikes began last week in one eastern state, Saxony, and union leaders will make a final decision next Monday on whether they should be widened.
At issue are union demands for the working week in the east to be cut from 38 hours to 35, in line with that in the wealthier west. Tuesday's result came despite a breakthrough in a similar dispute in the steel industry, where workers on Saturday won a gradual reduction of their hours in a deal that will see the workweek cut in three [1-hr] stages to reach 35 hours in 2009. The agreement covered only some 9,000 employees, and manufacturing employers subsequently made clear that they weren't prepared to extend it to the east's roughly 310,000 [unionized] industrial workers....
Easterners currently work longer hours for the same base pay as westerners because companies in the region say they can't afford higher costs.
[Unless they don't pay their top executives so much - and what top execs should be more used to not getting paid so much as former Communist East German executives?]
The steel deal went some way to address that concern, with a clause that would allow negotiations on a one-year delay in implementing cuts in the workweek if economic conditions worsen.
[How ironic! They'll only worsen if they don't spread out the limited insufficient 40-hr/wk jobs fast enough. The later Reuters version was headlined -]
East German engineering workers extend dispute, AP 06/10/03 08:20 via AOLNews.
- CareerBuilder.com survey shows 40% of working fathers willing to relinquish breadwinner role, PRNewswire 06/10/2003 13:56 EDT via AOLNews.
CHICAGO...- More men have become willing to give up the traditional role as breadwinner to be stay-at-home dads, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey. 40% of working fathers indicated they would likely leave their current jobs if their spouse or partner earned enough money for them to live comfortably. ..."A portrait of working fathers 2003"...conducted from March 20 to 27 [surveyed] 353 full-time working fathers..\..with children at home under the age of 18.... CareerBuilder commissioned SurveySite to use an e-mail methodology whereby individuals who are members of SurveySite Web Panel were randomly selected and approached by e-mail invitation to participate in [an] online survey. The results...are accurate within ±5.2%..\..
"Men today are comfortable with sharing the role of provider and are willing to rethink traditional work arrangements if it means they can spend more time at home," said Scott Brueggeman, VP of consumer marketing for CareerBuilder.com. "Women now comprise around 50% of the workforce, 20% higher than in the 1950s [source??]. We are seeing a paradigm shift in how households are managed, with more men taking on responsibilities previously thought to be assumed by women and v.v. This shift is slowly evolving, however, with men more often serving as the primary breadwinner and working longer hours than women."
Working fathers reported they worked longer hours each workweek than working mothers. 65% of fathers reported they worked in excess of 40 hours each workweek...compared to 36% of working mothers. 25% of fathers worked more than 50 hours a week compared to 11% of mothers.
[So women do have more sense than men.]
Working longer hours means having less time to spend with family, especially when travel in involved with one's job. Working fathers were more likely to travel on business than working mothers. 54% of fathers indicated they were asked to travel overnight for work compared to 24% of mothers.
"A common question heard in many households is 'when will Dad be home?'," said Brueggeman. "Being absent from home is taking its toll on working fathers as they contend with the pressure to be involved at home plus meet the demands of their jobs. 50% of working fathers reported they worked under a great deal of stress."
Working fathers have limited time with their children due to the burden of longer working hours and the tendency to travel on business. They reported less time with their children after work...compared to working mothers. After work, 44% of working fathers spent 3-6 hours with their children while 55% of working mothers spent the same amount of time with their children. 27% of fathers spent 2 hours or less with their children...compared to 14% of mothers....
To...improve their balance of work and life, 24% of fathers depended on a flexible work schedule while 18% took personal days.
[Adjusting the workweek gradually downward would solve all this.]
Fathers also altered their daily work schedule, leaving work early to attend events involving their children and spend more time with family. 72% of fathers reported these workstyle adjustments had not impacted the progress of their careers....
[But presumably for 28% it had - all unnecessary with our level of technology, and persisting only because of our outdated economics which focuses on variables that still rationalize "work hard to get ahead," to retain the unnecessary 40+ hr/wk level of control over our lives that the power elite mistakenly thinks they need, while they blather on about freedom and democracy.]
- State pays double for temp agency RNs in prisons - Union uncovers contracts worth $1.3B - System 'cannibalizes' state workforce, PRNewswire 06/10/2003 09:02 EDT via AOLNews.
Failure to offer competitive salaries to registered nurses (RNs) working in California prisons has resulted in the [California] Dept. of Corrections (CDC) paying temporary agencies more than double the state salary to fill vacant positions, according to an analysis of private contracts by the *California State Employees Assoc. (CSEA).... Low state salaries coupled with poor working conditions and a national RN shortage have pushed nurse attrition to record levels at California prisons....
Statewide more than 630 state-employed RNs represented by CSEA Unit 17 quit the profession or abandoned state service for jobs in the private sector during the 12 months ending Oct/2002. Their departures left nurses who remained on the job in a bind: juggling 60-hour workweeks, negotiating dangerous nurse-to-patient ratios, handling staggering levels of paperwork and coping with the effects of chronic exhaustion brought on by mandatory overtime - often working back-to-back 8-hour shifts..\.. "State nurses are fed up. They know they can double their salary in the private sector, and they're doing it," said Ken Hennington, chairman of CSEA Bargaining Unit 17 which represents 3,380 state nurses.... "By paying contractors double and failing to negotiate fair salaries for its own RNs, the state has created a self-cannibalizing system."...
["The march of folly."]
- French strike against cuts in pensions jams traffic, by Craig Smith, NYT, A10.
PARIS...- Striking government workers tied up traffic [here yester]day for the 3rd time in a month to protest a bill that would slash retirement benefits. Legislators may vote on it withing a few weeks.
Even government workers realize that something must change if they are all to continue enjoying guaranteed pension payments. But they say the government is asking too much with proposals that would require them to work 40 years before retirement, rather than the 37.5 years they are required to work now. Under the bill, government employees would have to work 42 years after 2009.
[The whole implication of longer lives and consequent "blank-check retirement" is that retirement must be changed from an end-of-life concept to an end-of-year (vacation) and primarily end-of-week (weekend) concept. Employees should be "bought off" with a further reduction of the French workweek, at least for government workers, to 34 hours a week. Cutting hours further would spread employment, erode unemployment and welfare, and grow wages and markets. Economic growth in the technological age is no longer a matter of long hours or productivity (regardless of marketability) or immigrants or trade. It's a matter of cutting hours, spreading the skills and work, growing the wages by the resulting labor shortage and thereby centrifuging and activating the spending power consolidated in the top income brackets. France should cut the workweek to 34 hours and let small businesses with one employee work 50 hrs/wk, 2 employees 49½ hrs/wk, 3 employees 49, 4 employees 48½ 5 employees 48 and so on down to the current 34.]
France: Strikes [ease], Agence France-Presse via 6/13/2003 NYT, A6.
Protests against the government's plans to cut pension benefits eased in much of the country as a day of action by public sector unions failed to cause serious disruption. The Paris Metro [subway] system returned to almost normal and railway workers called for a suspension of their strike. More than half a million highschool students began their final exams after striking teachers responded to popular pressure not to boycott the tests.
But in the south, public transportation remained at a near standstill, and a 10-day garbage collectors strike continued to leave piles of rubbish rotting in the streets.
6/10/2003 primitive timesizing in the news today = glimmers of strategic hope -
6/07/2003 primitive timesizing in the news this weekend = glimmers of strategic hope -
- German engineering firms see no deal to end strike, Reuters 06/09/03 10:13 ET via AOLNews.
BERLIN...- German industry leaders said on Monday they did not expect a settlement ending a strike in the eastern German steel sector would be a harbinger for a deal in the larger engineering sector.
[Nearly missed it. So there's been a settlement among the steelworkers! What is it? Trying to extract it from this 'unbiassed' (ha!) Reuters article is like pulling teeth, but here's the only indication -]
Martin Kannegiesser, head of the engineering employers association, and Deiter Hundt, president of the employers association, said a deal to lower the workweek for 9,000 east German steelworkers would harm the sector and could not be adopted by the larger engineering sector, with 310,000 workers.
[Oops, this still sounds like a deal to lower the steelworkers' workweek has not yet been reached. This guy would love Fosler, above.]
Around 16,000 non-steel engineering workers are still on strike in eastern Germany. Leaders of the IG Metall union nevertheless said they hoped the steel agreement, which will see the workweek cut from 38 hours to 35 hours in several steps by 2009, would be adopted by the engineering sector.
[This sentence makes the steel agreement sound a little more solid.]
"The agreement extorted against the seven east German steel companies will damage the eastern German economy and is under no circumstances going to be adopted by the engineering sector," Hundt said.
[At last we get a distinct impression that the steelworkers' agreement is real, but this information is only imparted in the most strident negative language of one side. This is impartial reporting?? Shame on Reuters. And it goes on -]
"It's inconceivable that this will be adopted," Kannegiesser said, adding that while many steel firms are part of larger concerns, most of the 3,000 engineering companies are small businesses and unable to afford reduced workweeks.
[Have these morons never experienced the superiority of creativity to productivity, and the close link between creativity and freedom, the most basic form of which is free time? Here's at last the voice of the 310,000 workers in this article, buried in paragraph 8 of 15. Here at last is the real, positive story, despite the weird, negative headline on this story (see above) -]
Officials from the IG Metall union representing some 9,000 steelworkers and eastern steel employers said early on Saturday they reached an pact on shorter workweeks over the next 6 years to end a week-long strike. The two sides agreed to lower the workweek in 3 steps from 38 hours currently, to 35 hours by 2009, meaning steelworkers in the formerly communist east would have the same 35-hour workweek as their counterparts in western Germany. For the steelworkers, the workweek will be cut with the first step in 2005 following by another reduction in 2007 before falling to 35 hours in April 2009.
[So they're going to cut one hour every two years. This compares with France planning to cut one hour every year from 1982 to 1986 and go from 40 to 35 hrs/wk, and to the USA which actually did cut two hours each year from 1938 to 1940 and went from 44 to 40 hrs/wk. In designing the Timesizing Full Employment Through Worksharing Progam, we believe that the pace of workweek adjustment should be decided by public referendum (and its direction by the unemployment rate, comprehensively defined - also by referendum - if unemployment is too high, the workweek adjusts downward, and vice versa - if unemployment can ever be too low and we're prepared to waste those deactivated consumers).]
Thirteen years after reunification, metalworkers in Germany [still] work 38 hours per week, three more than in the west. The giant IG Metall union had originally accepted the gap, aimed at making up for differences in productivity between the two sides, but the union has now pushed for a gradual reduction in hours to reflect the advances of eastern plants.
[If metalworkers are steelworkers, this should have been phrased "the union has now achieved agreement on a gradual reduction."]
Employers have warned eastern German firms would lose their competitive advantage with shorter workweeks that would raise costs by about 10% once the workweek is cut to 35 hours.
[BS. Juliet Schor in "The Overworked American" documented the paradox of decremented hours improving productivity, presumably through prioritization and better focus, and better rest.]
Juergen Peters, design[at]ed head of IG Metall, called upon employers to return to the bargaining table. "The engineering sector in eastern Germany is in better shape than many other business and services sectors in the east," Peters said. He said the union was flexible and was willing to push for 35 hours in profitable car plants while allowing for longer weeks in firms that are struggling.
- Europe poised for economic upswing - Structural shifts are making Europe look more and more like the U.S., the Conference Board reports, press release from Conference Board, PRNewswire 06/09/2003 10:00 EDT via AOLNews.
[God forbid, but good that somebody's painting it that way so the Great Meddler pokes it big self-righteous, freedom-stifling nose elsewhere.]
NEW YORK...- Widespread structural changes will accelerate economic growth in Europe to about 3% late this year and through 2004, The Conference Board reports in an economic analysis released today....
[And based on what they say later, where in the world do they get that projection? -]
The single-currency European market is rapidly expanding and now includes a diverse group of countries that feature both low wages and high-quality workers. The Conference Board analysis underscores the growing importance of contract workers, who are steadily competing with traditional employees for jobs, as well as more flexible work practices, and more part-time and women workers in Europe.
[We can see the virture of high-quality workers, but what in the world is the virtue of low wages? What's the virtue of contract workers competing down the wages and up the insecurity of traditional employees? And when wages go down, domestic consumer spending goes down. Hence our question, based on falling wages, where does the simple-minded Conference Board get a projection of accelerated economic growth?]
The important of working longer hours
[This is their answer? What about working smart, not hard? What about 150 years of shorter hours and higher pay? What about turning the heavy lifting, indeed any lifting, over to technology in return for shorter hours? What about weak consumer markets all over the world, ie: underconsumption, or the flipside, over-production? What about the concentration of spending power in the top income brackets where it never gets spent?]
"Hours worked in Europe, a vital factor in economic and productivity growth, actually rose at a rate of about 1% a year in the second half of the 1990s," \notes\ Conference Board Chief Economist Gail Fosler....
[Yeah, a vital negative factor, because it means the concentration of diminishing human employment, more under-employment to pressure down wages, and the further concentration of the national income, which is already so concentrated it is functioning to suction the markets away from the top brackets' own investments. Gail Fosler clearly does not understand the meaning of most technology, to make life easier for everyone by taking over more and more human employment. Most technology is quantity-multiplying technology. Some is quality-enhancing. Only the quality-enhancing has the potential to create more jobs than it destroys. But the quality limits are surfacing everywhere except in medicine. High-fidelity recording advances are maxxed out at quality levels only canines can distinguish. High-speed PCs and high-capacity hard disks are maxxed out at levels faster than most users need. We've actually backed off on air-travel speed by retiring the Concorde. We've backed off on space exploration by defunding NASA and forgetting about manned missions to the Moon, let alone Mars.]
"That compares with a decline of about 1% a year in the first half of the 1990s. Strikingly, Europe came close to matching the U.S. in the growth of hours worked in recent years."
[One gets the feeling that Fosler thinks the decline in the first half of the 90s was bad, and the growth in hours more recently she thinks is good, regardless of high unemployment levels in Europe and rising disability and incarceration levels in the U.S., not to mention unquantified under-employment and homelessness. Then there's Japan, with long hours and rising suicide rates. And by all means, let's not go back before 1940, when over 150 years hours came down and pay, consumption, production and prosperity went up.]
More Europeans working more hours have helped create new markets and lift consumer spending and consumer confidence in many European countries, the analysis points out. In France, this has been a stabilizing economic force during that country's current industrial downturn.
[What planet do these "analysts" come from? France is the one and only country in the world that between 1997 and 2001 went down in hours from 39 to 35. Bad example for claiming new markets and consumer spending from more hours. And let's not forget that Europeans have the shortest annual working hours in the industrial world thanks to their 4-6 week annual vacations. But there seems to be a huge mental block against the reverse view - that technology changes everything, - it creates a shorter-hours imperative that unless we obey, we will turn technology's promise into the curse of job insecurity, un- and under-employment, and third-world living standards.]
Key elements for further economic growth in Europe are in place. Says Fosler: "If Europe could grow its working hours by 1% a year over the next several years, and productivity were to advance by 2% - about average for the last decade - Europe's potential growth rate would be 3%....
[Is Fosler braindead or what? She's apparently swallowed the line that productivity varies directly with working hours, however long, regardless of fatigue, boredom, burnout, regardless of marketability, and regardless of Juliet Schor's and other people's data on productivity bumps from decremented hours due to increased prioritization, and data from the American Medical Students' Assoc. and other groups about the decline in productivity from prolonged hours. But she pursues this little fantasy of her own -]
...With working hours in the U.S. likely to grow only about 1% because of already high labor force utilization [ha! what about 6.1% unemployment and forced part-time, early retirement, disability and incarceration?!], America's potential growth would be only 3.1%, even if the U.S. sustains its productivity gains of the late 1990s."
[This pre-technological, 19th-century view of "work hard to get ahead" - regardless of working smart - symptomizes the distortion of thinking traced to the source of your funding. We'd wager that the Conference Board is funded by short-sighted corporate executives with a vested interest in rationalizing the status quo, however far it deteriorates. Fosler goes on to approve of merger&acquisition activity in Europe, without regard for the loss of diversity. It's like the positive 1950s and 60s views of monoculture in agriculture, with no recognition of the greater vulnerability to disease and in the case of the corporate and economic de-diversification, no recognition of the recent epidemic of corporate fraud.]
...Fosler notes, "Increased merger and acquisition activity suggests that Europe may have passed the tipping point toward a broader, more service-oriented modern [ha!] economy envisioned by the launch of the euro."
[And where do the jobs come from now that the service sector is getting computerized? Ironically, Folser's gobblegook is No. 5 in Vol. 14 of a publication called "StraightTalk."]
[Followup - Reuters finally put out a story on this press release -]
Conference Board says Europe to match U.S. growth, by Jeremy Gaunt, Reuters 06/12/03 11:16 ET.
6/6/2003 worktime consciousness & primitive timesizing in the news today = glimmers of strategic hope -
- Read-Rite shares tumble on report of cash shortage, Bloomberg via NYT, B4.
...A maker of computer diskdrive parts...based in Fremont CA..\..said a lack of cash to buy materials would cause a drop in sales and a wider Q3 loss than...expected.... The cash shortage is forcing it to extend a 3-week employee furlough by another week while it tries to raise money....
[Timesizing, not downsizing.]
- Medical students applaud action to enforce limitation of resident-physician workhours in Delaware, press release by *American Medical Student Assoc., US Newswire 06/06 12:50 via AOLNews.
With the full support of the members of the American Medical Student Assoc. (AMSA), Sen. James Vaughn (D) introduced to the Delaware State Senate yesterday the "Hospital Patient Protection Act" of 2003, S.133, which limits resident physicians' work schedules to 80 hours per week. Through its activism and lobbying efforts, AMSA's membership has brought national attention to the difficulties and dangers of requiring young doctors to work 36-hour shifts and as many as 120 hours a week. S.133 proposes guidelines limiting workhours to 80 hours per week and 24 consecutive hours per shift. Should the bill become law, Delaware would join New York as the only states to mandate resident workhours. [The territory of] Puerto Rico also recently joined New York in providing regulations for workhour limits.
While the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has proposed workhour standards that will go into effect July 1, 2003, their new guidelines lack independent oversight and enforcement, as well as whistleblower protections for residents who report...violations. In addition, ACGME guidelines allow for averaging of the 80-hour workweek over four weeks, and permit exemption for individual residency programs from the 80 hour limit.
[This is all so outrageous, we have to say it every time we come across one of these stories, "Physician, heal thyself!"]
"Legislation is necessary to enforce work hour limits and to provide whistleblower protections for resident physicians who file complaints about workhour violations. State regulations may be the most immediate way to ensure that patients are publicly informed about their safety in teaching hospitals," said Dr. Lauren Oshman, national president of AMSA.
Research has shown that more than 24 hours of wakefulness leads to a deterioration of cognitive function equivalent to the effects of having a blood alcohol level of 0.1%.
AMSA is an independent, student-governed, national organization representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. With a membership of over 40,000 medical students, interns, and residents from across the country, AMSA is committed to improving medical training as well as the nation's health. The most comprehensive website on the resident workhour issue is available [*online]. AMSA can provide assistance in reaching resident physicians willing to comment on this issue....
Contact: Braden Hexom of AMSA, 703-620-6600, x.211
email: email@example.com (that may be wrong, it could be just firstname.lastname@example.org)
web: *American Medical Student Assoc.
- [Here's how we get deeper and deeper into recession while in a "stumbling recovery," thanks to suicidal but ongoing economic policies and corporate strategies, such as the takeover and downsizing responses to technological innovation, instead of timesizing to preserve our workforce alias consumer base -]
U.S. jobless rate rises but rays of hope emerge, by Caren Bohan, Reuters 06/06/03 16:53 ET via AOLNews.
[See that? Bad news immediately buffered with hopeful speculation, so that we are immediately distracted from learning the hard lessons, and directed to grasping at straws. And where are the key worktime issues considered (and misinterpreted)? Buried, on p.2, in the 19th of 26 paragraphs -]
Within the May jobs report, data on hours worked and overtime were mixed. Private-sector hours worked stayed flat at 33.7 hours. The factory workweek lengthened to 40.2 hours from 40.1 hours....
[Workweek lengthening is taken as a positive indicator, instead a negative one, even though it
And at the end of the paragraph, we are immediately distracted onto a small unsustainable blip in the wages -]
- means inefficient overtime that concentrates work,
- wastes payroll,
- leaves the un- and under-employed excluded - thus guaranteeing more negative records like the 9-year high jobless rate briefly alluded to in this headline,
- and leaves profits to concentrate sluggishly in the top income brackets, unavailable to the consumer base to spur the velocity of currency money circulation - thus guaranteeing more "sluggish recovery" alias recession.
Worker hourly earnings rose 0.3% to $15.34....
[How prone are worktime reports to misinterpretation? Check out Kyodo News' version of this hours data. It starts with a good headline -]
May U.S. unemployment rises to 9-yr high of 6.1%, Kyodo 06/06/03 08:59 EDT via AOLNews.
[But, buried again, in the second-last of 12 paragraphs -]
The manufacturing sector's average workweek fell 0.1 hour to 40.2 hours.
[So did it lengthen or fall = shorten? Our money is on the Reuters version which is more likely written by a native speaker of English.]
- Hardly working, compiled by Kyle Pope, WSJ, C5.
Here's another reason not to do work while you're on vacation. A little-noticed tidbit in the federal indictment this week of Martha Stewart and her ex-Merrill Lynch & Co. broker [Peter Bocanovic] was that on the fateful day in question - when Ms. Stewart sold her shares of ImClone Systems after allegedly being tipped to do so by the broker - that [overly?!] hard-working fellow had been on vacation....
- Interview - Euro strength poses German jobs danger - official , Reuters 06/05/03 06:11 ET via AOLNews.
NUREMBERG...- The strength of the euro against the dollar and union demands for a shorter working week in eastern Germany pose dangers for Germany's job market, a senior Labour Office official said on Thursday. "It (euro strength) is a risk for the second half of the year," Labour Office board member Frank Weise told Reuters in an interview referring to the labour market. However, he said the rise of the euro to date had not appeared to hit German employment. Germany's main problem, he said, was weak economic growth although this could be made worse by the strength of the euro.
Weise also criticised the demand of giant engineering union IG Metall to cut working hours for steel and engineering workers in eastern Germany by three hours to 35-hours per week, in line with norms in the west. He said the demands could have a negative effect on the jobs market in the region.
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Dec.1-16/2002 + Nov.30
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