Bah humbug!

Fewer days off – good or bad? Can we have shorter hours and good pay? People’s World readers might think it’s a no-brainer. But this season there’s an online debate on this very question, sponsored by The Economist magazine, and you can weigh in.

John De Graaf is executive director of Take Back Your Time, an organization dedicated to fighting for the right of all Americans to have paid vacation time and “more opportunities for free time in our lives.” He will be taking on Northwestern University Professor Robert Gordon, an expert on inflation, unemployment and productivity issues. (With these academic qualifications, could Gordon have been the brains behind the guy with the clipboard who used to stand behind me in my days on the assembly line?)

The question before the house is: “This house believes that Europeans would be better off with fewer holidays and higher incomes.”

De Graaf says, “When I first read this resolution I thought there was some mistake, that the real resolution must be: ‘This house believes that Americans get too little holiday time.'”

He invites Take Back Your Time supporters to have a look at the debate and express themselves. Gordon’s and De Graaf’s opening statements are already posted. The rebuttals will be added on Thursday and the closing statements on Saturday. Readers will have until Dec. 31 to vote for whichever arguments they feel are the strongest and to make comments of their own. “Comments must be reasoned and polite'” adds De Graaf.

To join in the debate, go to the overview on The Economist’s web site.

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