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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Capitalist Slaves versus Socialist Citizens

Americans work many more hours than us lucky Europeans don’t they. Well maybe not.
Do Europeans work less than Americans? Most would suggest that indeed this is so. But the picture is modified somewhat when work is not only considered to be market work but also work outside the workplace. Europeans seem to work less for the "market" but devote more of total working time to home production.
So the total number of hours worked may not be so different.
In Sweden for instance market work per person is 10% less than in the United States, which corresponds to 3 weeks of full time work per person and per year. This is not insignificant. But total work on the other hand differs only 1%. So all in all Swedes no not work less, they devote more of it on home production.
So the much vaunted European life of leisure may be less real than we imagined. In addition, Home production is a symptom of an economy where there is a barrier to specialisation. In Europe that barrier is taxes and regulations. These stop us from doing what we do best and instead make us do many of those things that we would rather pay someone else for.

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