Re: Not sleeping

Phil Goetz (goetz@cs.Buffalo.EDU)
Sat, 15 Feb 1997 10:19:20 -0500 (EST)

> On Fri, 14 Feb 1997, Phil Goetz wrote:
> > If you didn't need to sleep 8 hours a day, rest assured that market
> > forces would guarantee you would soon be working most of those hours,
> > at lower hourly wages than you do now. When work can be made pleasurable
> > that is a good thing, but most people besides writers and scientists
> > don't live to work.
> This does not necessarily follow. Working hours have been declining and
> leisure time increasing over the past 50 years. Hourly wages won't
> necessarily decline. This would depend on the type of work that you are
> doing and the competition that you have. The extra time could be leisure
> time instead of working time.
> Duane Hewitt

I believe it does necessarily follow, and wages would necessarily decline.
The argument is a simple application of the same economic laws that have
caused working hours to decline. As wages have risen (and I don't know
really why they have risen, so I won't set forth my theories), and people
have had more entertainment opportunities available, the marginal value of
an additional 1 hr of working has declined and the marginal value of an
additional 1 hr of leisure has risen.

If everyone suddenly had 8 additional leisure hours per day, this would
necessarily reduce the marginal value of leisure time. It would also
increase the marginal value of work, since people would have more time to
spend money. Necessarily, statistically speaking, people would work
more hours. Lower wages follows from the increase in the worker-hour pool,
and because the minimum amount of money needed to support yourself and your
family for a week, which is the minimum amount that the large unskilled labor
pool will accept for a week's work, does not change (or even goes down,
due to not needing a house), while the number of hours they can work doubles.


(I'm sending this to the extropians list because someone said it was
inappropriate for exi-east. I don't subscribe to extropians anymore,
so please send me a copy if you reply.)