At the Labour party conference recently, UK Shadow Chancellor outlined the policy aim of reducing the working week to 32 hours, with no loss in pay. It’s been lambasted by many, who see it as a way of reducing productivity and costing jobs as businesses fail against overseas competitors with a lower cost base. In this week’s podcast, Prof Steve Keen tells Phil Dobbie that the protagonists have got it wrong. The reason productivity has slowed is because companies are becoming too reliant on low cost labour. A rise in labour costs will encourage more investment in technology, which is what will increase productivity. It’s impossible to increase the productivity of low skilled labour because humans can’t improve their energy output without machines to help them.
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