Is a 6 hour workday in the cards? President Obama must be smiling

Is Sweden trying to leapfrog us? The democrats just can’t get enough of their part-time paradise as Obamacare has shown us. They always seem to be looking for new ways to diminish our economic output in America, and no doubt this attempt to do likewise by Sweden must have them salivating with jealousy.

Municipal staff in Gothenburg will act as guinea pigs in a proposed push for six-hour workdays with full pay, with hopes that it will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money

I’ve been trying to follow the logic here. The claim is that efficiency suffers with an 8 hour workday. Reducing it to 6 is the cure?

Efficiency is not the same thing as productivity. For example, let’s say you produce 100 widgets per day as do I. However, it takes you 12 hours to do it while I only take 8. Even though our productivity is the same as measured on a daily basis, I am much more efficient by requiring 33% less time to complete the task.

If the Swedes are right and efficiency suffers with a longer workday, would it not make sense that the reduction in efficiency occurs in the later hours of one’s shift as they tire out? In other words, efficiency rates would be the same through the first 6 hours of an 8 hour shift as that of just a 6 hour shift. So productivity and total output will decline with a shorter workday, right?

Or are they saying that faced with the knowledge that you must work a long 8 hour day, your efficiency rate drops immediately in hour one simply due to mental fatigue? In other words, if I know I’m working a shorter day, my mental frame of mind is better and thus I work harder and become more efficient all day long.

Certainly, a leftist economics professor somewhere can produce a formula that shows efficiency increases when the workday decreases while maintaining productivity. Instead of naming it Pi, we’ll name it Pi in the sky! The fact is that for productivity to remain constant while the workday decreases, efficiency must naturally increase. However, the equation leaves out a most important factor tied to productivity. Compensation.

The Swedes have taken that out of the equation by promising equal pay for less hours. So why would the worker work harder to make up the difference? Is it not related to workday length at all, rather a question of compensation? Certainly we all know the type of worker who consciously makes a pre-determination that they are only giving their employer an amount of effort equal to their compensation.

Could the key to incentivizing efficiency be a merit based system? More efficiency leads to greater productivity which leads to greater compensation. Ah, now we’ve gotten to the heart of the matter. Rather than provide a system in which greater effort is rewarded, the approach is to dis-incentivize workers by providing equal compensation for less productivity.

Is the crux of the issue the fact that capitalists recognize human nature better than their socialist based counterparts? America’s welfare based programs follow this same logic of appealing to the human trait of taking the path of least resistance. When the roadblocks to success appear too daunting, people generally will fall back to the safe play of just taking what they can get. A lowered standard of living is generally preferable to no standard of living. If climbing above the ‘lower class’ requires personal sacrifice and forsaking the government gravy train, people will take the easier path.

Mats Pilhem, Left Party deputy mayor of Gothenburg, essentially said the same thing although it wasn’t his intended meaning.

Pilhem said he hoped the move would create more jobs, as he had seen evidence that longer shifts entailed less efficiency

Of course reducing the workday will create more jobs as workers will become less productive overall requiring additional staff to achieve the same output. That’s an essential plank in the broken window fallacy of job creation. The creation of less productive busy work always creates more jobs.

How long before President Obama adopts the Swedish model? He could do it with a stroke of his pen as he is so fond of saying.