April 19 – Get to Work!

GabeBell Ringers, Economics(BR)

On April 19, 1932, Herbert Hoover proposed a five-day work week.

Through most of Western history, people have worked six days, and rested on the seventh day. The origins of the day of rest are found in the Bible, and therefore are very much a Western idea. In 1793, the French Revolution tried to create a 10-day week, but didn’t last very long (Napoleon took them back to seven-day weeks in 1805).

Today, there is increasing concern that there won’t be enough work to go around in the future. Herbert Hoover, in 1932, proposed reducing the work week from six to five days as a way of helping unemployment, building on the voluntary five-day week instituted by Henry Ford.

  1. Do you think the government should decide such things?
  2. If Amazon goes to a 30-hour work week, do you think other companies will have to follow suit?
  3. Would you rather work ¾ time, for ¾ pay? Or fulltime for full pay?
  4. In recent years, there has been a decline in participation in the workplace. Only a few years ago, 95% of healthy young men worked. Today, the number is closer to 80%. How do you think society will change if fewer and fewer people are working? What pressures will be brought to bear by the unemployed on government?

Image Citation:

Overmars.  9 April, 2018 Cartoon of a 40 hour work week [Digital image].  Retrieved from <business2community.com>.