Europeans Better Off With Less Leisure Time?

Over the holidays, one of the State of the World authors, John de Graaf is debating on The Economist’s website with Robert Gordon of Northwestern University on the following resolution:

This house believes that Europeans would be better off with fewer holidays and higher incomes.

I find it hard to even see this as a debate as the only way we’re going to create a sustainable economy is by working many fewer hours and better distributing work among people. Having some people work long hours while others are chronically underemployed is a loser many times over. Stress, ill-health, lack of time for family and civic engagement for those working too much, lack of security for those working too little, and as the data in this slide by Chris Jones of University of California, Berkeley shows, the more discretionary income a household or individual has, the larger their carbon footprint. Having some work fewer hours will mean security for those that would then be employed and less stress and more time (instead of more money to consume with) for those working long hours now.

But enough on this topic by me. Here’s a sneak peak at John’s State of the World 2010 article “Reducing Worktime as a Path to Sustainability,” and a link to The Economist debate. It’s going on until December 31st, so weigh in, but of course, not during the holiday break or John would be mad!

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