http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/users/r ... /worktime/
What if, instead of using productivity increases to buy more possessions, we used them to get more time instead?
Productivity has been increasing exponentially for more than a century. This is one of the most remarkable developments of all time. Until a few decades ago, this bounty has been used both for increased material comfort and for more time. However, in recent decades, the increase has been used exclusively to purchase more things; hours have actually increased in the US. Meanwhile, there has been little increase in subjective well-being in developed countries in recent decades.
An average worker needs to work a mere 11 hours per week to produce as much as one working 40 hours per week in 1950. (The data here is from the US, but productivity increases in Europe and Japan have been of the same magnitude.) The conclusion is inescapable: if productivity means anything at all, a worker should be able to earn the same standard of living as a 1950 worker in only 11 hours per week.
Polls and surveys have shown that people in countries with the standard of living that the US enjoyed in the 1950's are no less satisfied than today's Americans. Indeed, many studies show that income increases people's subjective well-being only up to the point where basic needs are met.
Something is very wrong...