Re: Average Hours Worked

Subject: Re: Average Hours Worked
From: "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 09:35:51 -0600

Richard Pineger <no -dot- spam -dot- please -at- totalise -dot- co -dot- uk> wrote:

> France introduced the 35 hour working week. Germany has had it for some
> The average worker at Volkswagen works 28.8 hours each week. These
> are more productive in Gross Domestic Product GDP per head than the USA (I
> read it in an article in the Guardian so I can't actually back it up).

Nonsense. They're not even close. There are countless ways to measure per
capita income or output, so the rankings tend to vary depending on the
method you choose (Luxembourg often has the top GDP per capita, but that's
skewed by the scarcity of capitas in Luxembourg <g>). But, typically, the
USA is in the top two or three. Germany, France, and England are lucky to
crack the top 20.

In more focused measures of productivity per worker, the USA typically ranks
20-30% ahead of anyone else. That's not due to working longer hours, BTW,
but due to greater capital investment per worker. If you hand me a shovel,
I'd be hard-pressed to produce $5 worth of ditch per hour. If you give me a
backhoe, I'll produce $30-40 worth of ditch -- and be compensated that much
better as a consequence.

Be careful about using the Guardian as an authority; next, you'll be telling
us about the wonderful economic successes of Soviet central planning. <vbg>

Obligatory techwriting tie-in: Don't take your SME's word -- especially if
your SME has an ax to grind.


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Voyant Technologies, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT voyanttechDOTcom
rgcombs AT freeDASHmarketDOTnet

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