Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Example of System Properties, Not Intention, As Cause - American vs European Working Hours

More of a note for myself than anything else. According to this New Yorker article, the reason Americans work more hours than French or German people is this:

European labor unions are far more powerful and European labor markets are far more tightly regulated than their American counterparts. In the seventies, Europe, like the U.S., was hit by high oil prices, high inflation, and slowing productivity. In response, labor unions fought for a reduced work week with no reduction in wages, and greater job protection. When it was hard to get wage increases, the unions pushed for more vacation time instead.
It's an example of the properties of the system being responsible for the result, rather than it being direct result of intention.

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