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>> The real sticking points are always issues about benefits, particularly health insurance. <<

Good point. For people who like leisure time and have simple tastes (i.e. don't engage in excess consumerism), there could be a lot who would be willing to sacrifice 25% of their pay to cut back from 40 hours to 30. Problem is, too often they'd have to sacrifice 100% of their benefits, and few are willing to do that.

I don't relish the thought of government imposing more laws about when we can and can't work -- or how much -- but it is still interesting to see the modern economy largely bucking the long-term trend. Until now, increases in productivity and personal wealth have generally coincided with shorter working hours. These days, if anything the trend is the other way. The economy has become so ultra-competitive, so always-on-the-go, so 24/7, that it has largely prevented workers from enjoying the fruits of their ever increasingly productive labor.

While I don't support it as government mandates, I like the idea of gradually shortening the work week while gradually reducing overall pay (or slowing its growth). I'm at the stage now where free time, days off and independence from electronic leashes like pagers and cell phones are more important to me than every last percentage point of a raise. Heck, after a while maybe I could go down to four 8-hour days.

If I could get my employers to go along. And not take 100% of my bennies away.

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