Time for a shorter workweek

Over the past two decades, the productivity of labor, due to computer and robotic technology, has vastly increased while the income of workers has stagnated. So far, most of the benefits of these technical advances have gone to the corporate owning class, as reflected in fattened profits. The rich are getting much, much richer. The working class, which makes all these innovations possible, should share in the benefits. Instead, those of us who still have jobs are working too much – 350 hours (nine weeks!) per year more than our counterparts in Western Europe.

Overwork threatens our health, reducing time for exercise and encouraging consumption of artery-clogging fast foods. It leaves many of us with little time to vote – much less be informed, active citizens. At the same time, the ranks of the unemployed and homeless are growing due to automation. This is what high technology means in capitalist hands.

Shortening working hours will increase total employment by spreading the work around.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Under a rational economic system, improvements in technology and increased labor productivity would mean a shorter workweek, not an increase in unemployment and poverty.

Participation in environmental, community, union, and political activities all take time. With more free time, people would find more opportunities for building relationships, citizenship, and empowerment. For more on this, see http://www.timeday.org

David ZinkTacoma WA

Calif. recall

Although I am not a resident of California, the recall campaign against Governor Davis is really a national issue. However unpopular he may be, the recall Governor Davis campaign is another example of the Republican Party’s “will to power” and willingness to subvert representative government and free elections. “Will to power” is a term associated with an Austrian of slighter build than Arnold Schwarzenegger who used a martial law provision of the Weimar Constitution to destroy German democracy in 1933.

It is part of a whole series of sinister developments in which a president appointed 5-4 by a GOP-dominated Supreme Court has thrown together a goverment preaching 19th century Robber Baron capitalism, 18th century state church morality, and early 20th century gunboat diplomacy. If the Republicans aren’t stopped in California, what and where will be next?

A good deal of California’s problems stem from the economic crisis that the Bush service cuts and vast increases in military spending have meant for state governments. California’s problems are greatly compounded by the billions swindled from the state by the GOP’s Enron friends and funders.

“Recalling” George Bush democratically in 2004 and replacing him with a pro-labor progressive like Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who support major reductions in the military budget and federal aid to states and cities, along with repeal of the Taft-Hartley law and its “right to work” clause 14B, is a genuine answer to California’s and the nation’s problems.

Norman MarkowitzNew Brunswick NJ

Oppose anti-Semitism

Those who are Jewish have felt the wrath of anti-Semitism, and many years ago a lot of progressive Jews became Communists.

A friend of mine who can’t stand religion or Israeli policy was called a “cheap Jew” for bringing outside food into the Pennsylvania hospital cafeteria, upsetting him greatly. Somehow only right-wing Jews seem to get a chance to fight anti-Semitism and, more ominously, get to define what anti-Semitism is.

To make a long story short, I urge the People’s Weekly World to be in the forefront of fighting (and defining) anti-Semitism.

Richard Kanegisvia e-mail

Say no to ‘culture of greed’

First I really want to say thank you, thank you so much for doing what you do. I live in a very conservative part of the world, where dissent is viewed as downright evil and to have an open mind can be a terrible offense. I work in a major financial enslavement facility, credit card collections. I see first-hand capitalism eating itself alive. [We’re told] the war is over yet Americans and Iraqis are still dying; there were never any weapons and still no Saddam.

I was outraged and physically ill seeing Saddam’s sons’ dead bodies paraded like trophies on television. We have a president who lies and a government that tries to cover it up.

America has so much potential to do great things yet the culture of greed puts us in awkward and bad places.

G. CoatesEastern Tennessee