“We’re getting older and older here in Denmark. Kids who are ten years old today should be able to work until the age of 80. In return, they won’t need to work more than 25 hours per week when they become adults,” says Professor James W. Vaupel, who heads a new research centre at the University of Southern Denmark, which opened earlier this week.
It’s an interesting theory: working less when we are younger, and thus more able to do stuff, with trade off being that we work well past the 60/70 age mark that has defined retirees for most of our life times. I fully agree with the sentiment and the idea because it sounds fantastic.
The ‘but’ comes into play with paying employees. How, as a society, do we afford this? Do we pay two people half a normal salary to do one job? Do we pay one person a full salary to do half as much work?
Effectively we are cutting weekly working hours almost in half with this idea. So half the amount of work will be getting done (not exactly, but you get the point). In order for this to work in society at large one of two things must happen:
- Costs of living have to be substantially reduced for every person so that living off of a 25 hour salary is possible; or
- Salaries must be maintained, where a 40 hour work week pay is the same as a 25 hour work week pay.
The thought of being able to accomplish either of those things sounds insurmountable to me.