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The New Economics Foundation are insane

by | 11th, October 2012

THIS won’t come as much surprise to close observers but the New Economics Foundation seem to have gone well past the woo barrier into entire insanity.

Radicals have long understood the importance of the garden. Now the New Economics Foundation has got the numbers to back up the sentiment. We and the national economy would be better off for a day in the garden. Ideally a communal garden, since volunteering is probably the only other activity that can be as conducive to a feeling of wellbeing. NEF has quantified the impact of a shorter working week (spreading the available work around) and the personal benefits of spending the spare day digging, planting, pruning and potting. Time outdoors is a stress-busting, calorie-consuming, mobility-enhancing, all-round good thing, and time spent growing stuff you can eat is just the proverbial icing on the homegrown strawberries. It makes economic sense too: from Utrecht to Utah, four-day working week experiments (not necessarily involving fewer hours worked) make people more productive, happier, and thinner.

It is undoubtedly true that some people like gardening. There are others who hate it with a passion. The error the nef makes is to confuse the effects upon those who like it with the effects on those who do not. That there are some people who currently enjoy their voluntary activities on the allotment does not mean that those who are forced into it will find it stress reducing. Or anything other than an imposition by the neo-peasants.

But that’s only the first error. The second is much larger. Look at what they’re actually saying. That to reduce the amount of work we do to maintain our lifestyles, we must give up working efficiently (you know, with machines, with the division of labour and its specialisation) and return to working inefficiently. As peasants on our very own little plot of land. This is insane, to insist that you can cut working hours by insisting that people work more hours.

Mad, quite mad.

Photo: A family all work together to grow food for the table during times of rationing – 24/04/1942.



Posted: 11th, October 2012 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink