In 1929, the economist John Maynard Keynes made a prediction. Over the course of the next century, he wrote, standards of living in the affluent world would rise between four and eight times to the point where humanity was presented with a new problem: “how to occupy the leisure which science and compound interest will have won for him, wisely and agreeably and well?”
While largely correct on the former, the idea of being unshackled from the yoke of work remains mockingly out of reach. The average British working week is presently 31 hours, down from 50 hours in 1930 and roughly double that which Keynes predicted.
But that number is significantly reduced by the inclusion of part-time workers and also ignores the modern blurring of lines between work and home which means answering emails at all hours of the day.
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