chapter  9
13 Pages

Work time and environmental impact in a global perspective

WithAlexandra Arntsen, Bruce Philp

This chapter considers the contribution reducing work time can make to sustainable living, discusses a number of economic work time theories. There are a number of schools of thought, members of which have contributed to the debate over work time. K. Marx examined workers’ preferences regarding work time and maintained that workers preferred shorter hours and would forego the additional wages associated with longer hours. In the neoclassical model of working hour determination work is categorised as an economic “bad” from which workers derive disutility. Feminist social scientists have also investigated the interaction between the household and work in gendered perspective. “Preference theory” was proposed by Hakim with the aim of explaining “women’s choice between family work and market work”. The nexus between work time, gender, preferences, and sustainability is important for those with a keen interest in the nature of capitalism, and power structures within it.