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hopes/dooms du jour,
August, 2010

[Commentary] ©2010 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Sq PO, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE


     sun-mon-tue 8/29-30-31/2010 ::: triweekly updates (archives) -
    TIMESIZING instead of downsizing in the news (archives) - Google Search newsclips of what the world's doing that's on the right track - the core solution is so obvious, nobody's noticing it - usually it's just one item on a list - few yet realize it's the ink & paper of the list itself - it's our closest candidate to a single all-sufficient control and despite *dismissal by the 'experts,' it's reinvented thousands of times a day in every downturn by businesses & governments, for ex.,*Washington State's video on replacing downsizing with timesizing alias 'shared work' -
    [editor's comments in square brackets] (editor= Phil Hyde, timesizing@aol.com) -
  1. German official unemployment rate stable at 7.6%, 8/31 Agence France-Presse via AFP.com
    FRANKFURT, Germany - .."While unemployment is still rising elsewhere in the euro-zone, the German labour market has been particularly resilient, thanks initially to the Government's 'Kurzarbeit' subsidy scheme, but perhaps now reflecting the underlying economic recovery," McKeown said. The German government had subsidised shorter working hours to help companies make it though the global economic downturn, but most companies have now put staff back on full-time hours. Germany posted record quarterly growth in the second quarter of 2010 thanks to strong exports and a pick-up in domestic consumption underpinned by improving job prospects... - see whole article under today's date.
  2. HR European news roundup – August 2010 - A selection of the latest European HR news from the Federation of European Employers (FedEE), 8/29 (30/8) Expatica France via expatica.com/fr
    LONDON, England - ..Much of Germany's success is based on its strong export markets and its labour market initiatives. Major improvements have been made in labour flexibility during recent years and although the short-time working scheme (Kurzarbeit) has been a costly investment by the state it has helped industry to retain its core workers.
    [Not as costly as USA's failure to preserve its consumer base and employment basement - but the U.S. has so much more self-anesthetizing news and media chauvinism.]
    Trade unions have also focussed on job security rather than preserving real income levels... - see whole article under today's date.
    [If you focus on full employment however short a workweek it takes, market forces will look after real wages and income levels as employers compete against one another for good help.]
  3. Less Work, More Life, by John de Graaf, 8/30 Progressive.org
    [Way to go, John!]
    SEATTLE, Wash. - ..Progressives would do well to advocate reduced working hours instead of demanding unsustainable growth. . . . Reducing work hours and sharing available work is essential for our families, health, economic security, and the environment... - see whole article under today's date.
    [More compelling than this plea-for-mercy type of argument is the fact that if you can only get one of labor's two traditional goals, higher pay and shorter hours and it's higher pay, you wind up with neither because you're just tacking an unsustainably high price on a surplus commodity, yourself, but if you can only get one and it's shorter hours, you wind up with both because you've cut the labor surplus and harnessed market forces on your side in raising the price of a commodity that's become scarcer, namely labor hours relative to currently demanded employment hours. No more 5000 resumes coming in for every 5 job openings!]
  4. Kurzarbeit, "living-dead capitalism," and the future of the Left; 8/30 blitzy.cz
    PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The announcement by the Czech Social Democratic Party last summer that, if elected, they would institute a policy of kurz-arbeit (“short-work”) was a rare instance of a Czech socialist party publicly embracing the concept of a shortened workweek, an idea which has been floating around and experimented with in varying degrees in Western Europe for a number of years now, especially in France... But if the influential, and recently deceased, French social philosopher André Gorz was correct, the reduction of the workweek is not just a short-term, recession-related issue for the European socialist parties but the key to their survival, and indeed the survival of the Left in general... - see whole article under today's date.
    [And Left shmeft, it's also key to the survival of the Right (Lever Bros., Kellogg's, Filene's, Nucor, Lincoln Electric, SAS, VW, Merkel...) because it's actually a centrist common-sense strategy that's the key to the survival of any and all economies in the robotics age.]


     fri-sat 8/27-28/2010 ::: triweekly updates (archives) -
    TIMESIZING instead of downsizing in the news (archives) - Google Search newsclips of what the world's doing that's on the right track - the core solution is so obvious, nobody's noticing it - usually it's just one item on a list - few yet realize it's the ink & paper of the list itself - it's our closest candidate to a single all-sufficient control and despite *dismissal by the 'experts,' it's reinvented thousands of times a day in every downturn by businesses & governments, for ex.,*Washington State's video on replacing downsizing with timesizing alias 'shared work' -
    [editor's comments in square brackets] (editor= Phil Hyde, timesizing@aol.com) -

  1. Holland provides valuable lesson on temp workforce - Under the Dutch system, temporary doesn't equal disposable, 8/27 JapanTimes.co.jp
    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (alias Holland) - ..But despite working four days a week, van Welsenes holds the same status as a regular worker and makes the same hourly pay, though it's for 32 hours a week instead of 40. She gets every benefit full-time workers receive. Regardless of working part time, full time or on a temporary basis, workers in the Netherlands feel secure and protected by the social safety net even during a recession, she said, thanks to the laws that guarantee equal treatment. Some labor policy experts say Japan, where nonregular workers have to work in unstable conditions, can learn from the Dutch approach called "flexicurity," a combination of flexibility and security. Numerous companies ln the Netherlands utilize the system, considering it a mechanism to stay competitive... While Japanese companies hire temp workers to reduce costs, Struik said that is not the case in the Netherlands. "It's expensive to hire temporary workers" because they are protected by Dutch law, he said. "Cheap labor is difficult in Holland. [Why? You actually value one another?] We have to do it differently" [why "have to" - what's the compulsion? your historic "man against the sea"?] to stay competitive with factories in Japan, the U.S. and China. What the company tries to do instead is enhance internal flexibility, Struik said. "..Keeping skilled people keeps a firm competitive"... - see whole article under today's date.
    [The prevailing idea in many other countries that you can treat like disposable surplus alias garbage the very fount and source of your business, people - whom you hope will all buy from you, is crashing. Holland has found an unusual solution = beef up part-time (bottom up). Timesizing simply redefines full-time downward and requires conversion of overtime into jobs (top down). So Anders Hayden's generalities about the Netherlands years ago were true. Thanks again, Anders! (Folks, buy his book, *Sharing the Work, Sparing the Planet.)]
  2. Finally, the housing meltdown makes sense, 8/27 msnbc.com via lifeinc.msnbc.msn.com
    Slowdowns in the market causing employers to cut hours and jobs took people living paycheck to paycheck over the cliff into default on mortgages that they had no business receiving in the first place... - see whole article under today's date.


     wed-thu 8/25-26/2010 ::: triweekly updates (archives) -
    TIMESIZING instead of downsizing in the news (archives) - Google Search newsclips of what the world's doing that's on the right track - the core solution is so obvious, nobody's noticing it - usually it's just one item on a list - few yet realize it's the ink & paper of the list itself - it's our closest candidate to a single all-sufficient control and despite *dismissal by the 'experts,' it's reinvented thousands of times a day in every downturn by businesses & governments, for ex.,*Washington State's video on replacing downsizing with timesizing alias 'shared work' -
    [editor's comments in square brackets] (editor= Phil Hyde, timesizing@aol.com) -

  1. "Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?": America's misguided culture of overwork - Germany's workers have higher productivity, shorter hours and greater quality of life. How did we get it so wrong? 8/25 Salon.com
    CHICAGO, Illin. - ..According to Thomas Geoghegan, a labor lawyer..and author of *"Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life", European social democracy – particularly Germany’s – offers some tantalizing solutions to our overworked age... - see whole article under today's date.
  2. Oklahoma amends its UI law regarding the Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program, 8/25 CCH via hr.cch.com
    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - ..“Participating employee” means an employee who works a reduced number of hours under a shared work plan. “Participating employer” means an employer who has a shared work plan in effect... - see whole article under today's date.
  3. Our View: Legislators' self-rewarding vote distasteful, 8/26 Auburn Citizen,NY via auburnpub.com
    AUBURN, N.Y. - ..The whole mess goes back to July, when the Legislature's Ways and Means Committee OK'd a plan to shorten the workweek of members of the Legislature from 35 to 30... - see whole article under today's date.
    [Well, as Grannie Hyde used to say: "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." If a 30-hour workweek is good enough for Cayuga County legislators, why isn't it good enough for Cayuga County citizens - and everyone else for that matter as we enter the Age of Robotics? Our burgeoning population of single parents would kill for a 30-hour workweek with full-time benefits!]
  4. Bridge closes, businesses suffer.. - Port Wentworth merchants report fewer customers, dwindling sales as construction on Ga. 25 lingers, 8/25 Savannah Morning News via savannahnow.com
    PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. - ..Former Mayor Tim Holbrook, who owns the Deli Mart, said sales at the diner have been down more than 50 percent. He opened a second location in Garden City to soften the blow, but he's cut hours that equate to two full-time employees... - see whole article under today's date.
  5. Massey cleaners' hours cut, 8/25 Manawatu Standard via stuff.co.nz
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand - ..They must accept reduced hours or lose their jobs after a new contractor gave them the ultimatum... Based on cut hours, the average worker's wage could drop from $526 to $329 a week... - see whole article under today's date.
    [If that's the way employers talk to employees in New Zealand, looks like NZ has let itself slip into a wage-depressing (and respect-losing) labor surplus there too. The irony is that when done on a systemwide basis, hourscuts mean wage raises, not drops, because the wage-depressing labor surplus gets reduced.]


     sun-mon-tue 8/22-23-24/2010 ::: triweekly updates (archives) -
    TIMESIZING instead of downsizing in the news (archives) - Google Search newsclips of what the world's doing that's on the right track - the core solution is so obvious, nobody's noticing it - usually it's just one item on a list - few yet realize it's the ink & paper of the list itself - it's our closest candidate to a single all-sufficient control and despite *dismissal by the 'experts,' it's reinvented thousands of times a day in every downturn by businesses & governments, for ex.,*Washington State's video on replacing downsizing with timesizing alias 'shared work' -
    [editor's comments in square brackets] (editor= Phil Hyde, timesizing@aol.com) -

  1. While China Hits No. 2, Opportunity in America is Shrinking, 8/23 HuffingtonPost.com (blog)
    WORLD BANK, Italy - ..Germany is doing well for two related reasons. First, the export sector is very healthy. And that is the result of the fact that over the last decade Germany has gone through a major restructuring of its economy in which workers traded some income for more job security, greater flexibility of hiring and firing was allowed, and work-sharing (kurzarbeit) instead of layoffs during the downturn has enabled key companies to retain skilled workers so they can get back on track quickly as demand rises. All of these reforms have put German companies in a more competitive position... - see whole article under today's date.
  2. Canada PM Pumps Work Share at Michelin Plant, 8/24 TireReview.com
    WATERVILLE, N.S., Canada - ..Harper's visit was arranged to show off the results Canada's state run “Work-Sharing Program” can achieve. The Canadian government describes Work-Sharing [as] an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid temporary layoffs when a reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer occurs... - see whole article under today's date.
    [Kinda wordy but nice to hear somebody else describe it.]
  3. Sugar firm employees' hopes dashed, 8/22 Daily Nation via nation.co.ke
    NAIROBI, Kenya - A judge has dashed the hopes of West Kenya Sugar Company employees to have their working hours reduced to 44 a week... - see whole article under today's date.
    [More or less guaranteeing that Kenya is going to stay in the Third World...]
  4. Public libraries: enablers of Americans' dreams, 8/22 Seattle Times via seattletimes.nwsource.com
    SEATTLE, Wash. - ..More than 55 percent of [America's] urban libraries are reporting budget cuts, and a quarter have felt obliged to cut hours or close branches... - see whole article under today's date.