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BENEFITS OF THE 4 HOUR WORK DAY

Establishing a 4-hour work day has many benefits. It is hard to find a single policy that has these many positive ramifications. We could group these benefits into 3 categories: Economy, Society, and The Environment. We invite you to explore how a 4 hour work-day can impact these three areas. 


BENEFITS FOR THE ECONOMY

FIGHTING POVERTY THROUGH FULL EMPLOYMENT

Giving the population the ability to not only find a job but also have decent income is the first step to eradicate poverty in the world. Currently, poverty is being dealt by treating the symptoms only: "you don't have food, let's give you food; you don't have medicine, let's give you medicine; you don't have a home let’s give you a home". But, why do some people don't have access to food, medicines or a home to begin with? Giving them what they lack doesn't solve the problem that created their inability to acquire those goods to begin with. 

STABILIZATION OF THE ECONOMY BY INCREASING AGGREGATE DEMAND

Full employment also brings an increase in aggregate demand. If most people have a job, they will also have income to consume goods and services, which will then fuel the economy.

SAVING PUBLIC RESOURCES

Governments have big expenses for welfare and social programs that attempt to alleviate problems caused by the dysfunctions of the market. Reducing the working day from 8 hours to 4 hours without reducing income would increase the number of jobs available and reach Full Employment. This way, the population will enjoy a decent income, which could eliminate the need for unemployment benefits, aid for the homeless etc… These resources could be channeled instead to other programs that could help develop our economy like education, health care, etc…

A BOOST TO THE OPEN SOURCE MOVEMENT

Many people believe that the Open Source Movement is going to set up the foundation for the future sustainable Economy. Having the population required to work less and less and enjoy more leisure time will give the Open-Source Movement the boost it needs to become mainstream. It will begin to slowly liberate millions of creative minds trapped in monotonous and repetitive jobs and give them the time to focus on what they love doing, on figuring out things that can benefit all of us and not just a corporation that sells the products. The 4 hour work-day can make the open-source movement grow rapidly, and the best of all is that it will do it without compromising people’s income.


BENEFITS FOR SOCIETY

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IMPROVE EDUCATION

Imagine the possibilities in Education. Having to work 4 hours a day leaves with plenty of time to pursue another education, a degree in college or maybe learn a new skill in life like writing, carpentry, auto repair, a new language, computer systems, etc… It doesn’t mean that we are not able to do that now with an 8 hour work-day, but at least we would not do it by giving up other important things like family, life or personal hobbies like sports, music, etc… It is all a matter of giving priority to what we really like and enjoy doing, instead of giving priority to our work. The labor force could become skilled, even without government support. Everything that is learned in college is available online for free. There are many websites that offer free education like Khan Academy, Edx, etc... and many more are being created as we speak. (www.khanacademy.org, www.edx.org, etc...), we just need the time to pursue that education and learn those skills without disregarding family or personal hobbies. 

DEMOCRACY AND ACTIVISM

In a society that only requires people to work 4 hours a day, people will have more time to become more engaged with the problems that affect their community, country or the entire world, and become more active citizens. People will have time to educate themselves about current issues and explore possible solutions. They will even have time to educate others about these solutions, to engage the public and to massively assist to protest against the injustices of our current economic system

REDUCING CRIME

Criminal activity would decrease if it would be easier for people to find a job with decent income. Also, parents spend long hours at work away from their homes, which can also be detrimental to children’s development due to absence of good role models and values. In many cases, children absorb the values that TV and other violent media bring to them. By reducing the workday to 4 hours, not only the availability of jobs will increase, making it less likely for people to choose the criminal route, but also parents will have much more opportunity to spend more time with their children, taking care of them and raising them with good values

IMPROVING OUR HEALTH

It should not be a surprise that shorter working hours would translate into better overall health. Besides a reduced time of being exposed to the stress and demands of work, having more leisure time to engage in activities that we do love like reading a book, hanging out with friends or even spending more time with the family and kids, would create a much better psychological state of mind for the population. More leisure time would also mean that people could engage in healthier activities like growing and cooking your own food, exercising or going for walks, better sleeping patterns, the return of the Nap time for adults, and many more activities that not only create healthier people, but a healthier society as well.

SPIRITUALITY

Einstein said once that you cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness that create it. Either praying, chanting, meditating or doing spiritual studies, having more leisure time will leave enough room for people to become more active in spiritual activities that would enhance their level of consciousness. It could also provide time to become more active with the spiritual organization of our choice, thus creating a new state of consciousness in the world. Spirituality should not be a thing you do only once a week: It should be a way of life. Like Jiddu Krishnamurti said once: “The real revolution is the revolution of consciousness”

UTILIZATION OF FREE TIME AND PERSONAL REALIZATION

We have to wonder how much talent is being wasted because of not having time or the opportunity to pursue our dreams, our interests, the things we love doing. From poetry to sports, from computer programming to volunteering, having more leisure time to do what we love doing, will make us feel more realized as people and contribute to society at the same time. You could even have a job that you personally don't like doing, but it will be only for 4 hours, and you will have the rest of the day to focus on what you really want to focus. That is True Freedom!

FAMILY AND PARENTING

Having shorter hours for paid employment leaves parents with more time to spend with their children. It could help fathers not only release the work load to mothers because of being more available at home, but also to become more engaged with their kids and to nurture their development. There is a wide consensus about the fact that both parents are fundamental for a child’s development. Therefore, creating an environment that supports family life and children’s growth, also helps society by raising psychologically healthier and more stable individuals.



BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

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SHIFT FROM ECONOMIC GROWTH TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The 4 hour work day is the most important component of a Low or Zero Growth economy. We can use increases in productivity to reduce the work-day instead of producing more, and thus transition into a stronger economy focused more on development instead of growth. 

TIME TO LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY AND CONSUME LESS

Many of the products we purchase today are for convenience: We drive a car to go to work because riding a bike takes too much time; we go out to eat because cooking takes more time. If we spend less time at work we would be able to redefine the way we live: we could start growing our own food and cooking from scratch for example. 

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