It’s not an unreasonable question.. if this article is to be believed:
Ever since Keynes’s seminal 1930 paper Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren predicted that technological progress would virtually eliminate work by making labor much more productive, economists have puzzled over why Americans’ working hours have gotten longer and longer, until they are some of the longest in the world.
While its true that early technological progress brought shorter working days with it, until about 1973. The years since have reversed the trend, and the more technological we become, the longer we work, bringing our work home with us in pervasive, inescapable ways.
[snip] As to the longer working hours, Friedman thinks that the answer is inequality. Because all additional profits from increased productivity go to the owners of the technology (capital), labor’s dividend is cheaper goods, not more leisure. Basically: Americans are too poor to stop working.
But why do bosses work longer hours, too? Friedman thinks that being a boss is a labor of love, so they pull long hours too. I don’t know that this is true. I’d blame social norms: when incredibly long hours are normal, they’re normal, for everyone.
The author was on a roll until he got to his presumed punchline when he suggested that the extra work – by both management and non-management employees alike – was because of his implied disdain for corporate profiteering.
This just can’t be possible in today’s labor markets; the Corporate winners span too much of the socially acceptable spectrum.
The fundamental cause of our having to work so much longer and harder (despite such tremendous gains in technology and productivity) is the dramatic increase in the numbers of hands in the collective corporate pie. Look no further than the Federal states and local taxation system, the environmental regulation system, the “internationalization” of the US economy, and the labor activism movement(s) for a glimpse of the real parasites sucking the lifeblood out of the American worker – bee’s livelihood… regardless their position in the corporate food chain.
[images courtesy BoingBoing and Investopedia]]