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Friday, May 28, 2004

Maybe they should sue Jeremy Rifkin?

About 9-10 years ago a book appeared called "The End of Work" by socialist Jeremy Rifkin. Rifkin was scared and wanted all of us to be scared as well. You see we were soon going to face massive unemployment because technology was making humans redundant and work was becoming extinct.

Rifkin's answer? Well he didn't have a lot but one thing he championed was the shortening of the work week. This would create more jobs since if you cut everyone's work time employers would have to hire more staff.

Not many countries were stupid enough to follow Mr. Rifkin's brilliant strategy. Except one.

France implemented a 35 hour week to the self congratulatory crowing of Mr. Rifkin and it has now been denounced as an absolute disaster.

The problem with shortening the work week in this fashion is two-fold.

One it assumes that Rifkin was correct (he wasn't). In the years after his book was published The US experienced record employment and even now it is still a mere 5.6% and this is when their economy is supposedly doing poorly.

In socialized Europe unemployment is averaging close to 9% almost double the US and even higher than Canada's.

If our unemployment rate was hovering at 9% this election you could bet Paul Martin would be catching hell.

Which leads us to the second problem with the "end of work" thesis: if you assume that your economy is only capable of producing a finite amount of jobs you are wrong and wrongheaded.

The employment/unemployment issue is not a problem but a symptom. If your economy is not producing enough jobs don't throw up your hands in despair and start rationing out the meager amount of jobs you have. Start looking at ways to ramp up economic growth.

France has long been shackled with extremely powerful unions who are already set to fight like crazy to prevent the 40 hour work week from being reinstated. It's economic growth last year was a miniscule .17% compared to the US's 3.12%. Yet no one seems to be suggesting that France or the rest of Europe (which trails the industrial world in economic growth) adopt America's approach to economics: largely unfettered free markets.

If they did there would be no end of jobs and no "end of work".

The Meatriarchy

Posted by Justin Bogdanowicz on May 28, 2004 in International Affairs | Permalink


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Jermy Rifkin is a complete idiot i mean his book BEYOND BEEF only proves he is stupid i mean the next meal someone should serve him a big plate of grass if he is so rediculous why dont he start by being utterly rediculous

Posted by: Spurwing Plover | 2008-10-12 2:31:26 PM

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