Length of Work Day Increasing
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One of the most ancient ways to increase returns from the exploitation of labor, Karl Marx noted in Volume I of Capital, is to lengthen the working day. Slave owners, feudal lords, and capitalists had that device in common. In a recent book, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure Time, Harvard economist Juliet Schor notes that in 1987 the average U.S. worker labored for wages 163 hours longer per year than in 1969. Somewhere in less than two decades a full month of labor per year had been added and the same amount of leisure deducted from our lives. During the 1980s alone, the book says, we lost three and a half days of vacation, holiday and other paid leaves from work.