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November 6, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I originally wanted this post to be about why in the United States, we usually work Monday through Friday and have Saturday and Sunday off. The only info I could find in regards to this stated that we have off on Sunday because it’s the Sabbath. This didn’t reveal why we have off Saturday instead of Monday, but while digging around for that information I found something which I found much more fascinating.

While the concept forty hour work week is fairly standard in most of the world, there are a few countries who have opted to either cut back or add to the number of hours the average worker puts in per week. The United States hasn’t deviated from the 40 hour work week since the fifties, and do you know why?

To battle those evil commie pinkos.  I’m serious.

After World War II ended and our allies became our enemies, found itself in the midst of another, much longer, war. The government released a report detailing plans to make the country more productive. It basically banned the reduction of hours in the work week. With people putting in more hours, it freed up more volunteers for the armed forces to fight the Red Threat, and also allowed more people to produce supplies for the war. Since we were producing more, the gross national product also rose, which could be used to pay for the war.

You can read all the absolutely fascinating details of the report here.

Categories: History Tags: ,
  1. November 16, 2009 at 2:01 am

    It’s interesting how we often think that the way things are is the that things have always been (or the way that things MUST be). Even the 40 hour work week is a fairly recent invention…

    Oh, and nice blog DJ!

  2. November 16, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Thanks, Tim!

    You’re absolutely right about how we get stuck in thought patterns like that. While doing this article, I found that almost the whole world fits into the Monday-Friday (or Mon-Sat) work week, except for Israel, where their week begins on Sunday and goes to Thursday.

    You’d think that the way the business world works, it would almost force a standard everywhere.

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