Shorter hours are happening anyway, but not the best way which maintains personal income and vital consumer spending via emergency worksharing and sustainable timesizing. We can’t simply project a pre-computer 40-hour workweek indefinitely into the age of robotics.
It may be fun to sneer at believers in the fixed “lump of labor fallacy” because “there’s an infinite amount of work to be done,” but where’s the corresponding willingness to pay for it? – and without pay, it isn’t, and doesn’t, work.
So we need to take charge of this workweek-trimming process, systematize it and make sure it happens in a way that absorbs the surplus of jobseekers, gets employers bidding against one another for good help, thereby harnesses market forces to flexibly maintain and raise wages and spending, leeches money out of the huge black hole of income and wealth in the top 0.01%, and gets those trillions back into circulation.
Shorter hours is a strategy that is reinvented hundreds of times a day across the U.S. in this recession and thousands of times a day across the world in both public & private sectors, in every industry, and in a variety of ways.
Many countries and U.S. states already have worksharing programs to cushion the transition to permanently shorter workweeks that automatically adjust to our rising levels of productive technology in the Age of Robotics. These programs currently are designed to be temporary.