Adjust workweeks

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Allow me to pose a simple question: Should robotics make our lives easier and better, or harder and worse?

In Harold Meyerson’s March 28 commentary (“The Coming Job Apocalypse,” Perspectives), he paints a bleak picture of the future — a future where new technology replaces a huge percent of the workforce. But new technologies replacing workers is nothing new. That’s been happening since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. How did we combat high unemployment in the past? Well, one way was to institute the 40-hour workweek and the eight-hour workday. Before that, it was common for workers to labor seven days a week and 12 hours a day. By standardizing the workweek, we instantly reduced unemployment and made the lives of all Americans better.

Maybe it’s time to make the six-hour workday and the 30-hour workweek. Instead of talking about raising the retirement age, we should lower it. Employee compensation, of course, would have to be adjusted up to a living wage, and the Social Security tax cap also would have to be raised. Doing this would undoubtedly make our lives easier and better. Isn’t that what robotics are supposed to do?

L. PELKEY
Pitcairn


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