Work Less, Earn More, Live Longer
From 1856 to 1981 men in the U.K. got 174,720 more hours to enjoy life while incomes rose 383 percent.
In 1856 men in the U.K. had a life expectancy of around 58 years, or 502,860 life hours. According to a study by Professors Jesse Ausubel and Arnulf Grübler, over the course of their lives, these men typically spent around 30 percent of their time, or 149,700 hours working. By 1981 life expectancy had increased by 16 years to 74, or 641,580 hours. During this same period, however, the number of hours worked had fallen by 41 percent to 88,000. They worked 61,700 fewer hours while increasing their life hours by 138,720, or 28 percent. Innovations in health care and productivity combined to these double benefits that increased non-working hours by 200,420 or 57 percent. During this same period, real GDP per capita increased by 383 percent from 3,508 pounds to 16,943 pounds. In addition, population doubled from 28.22 million to 56.52 million. More people help us work less, earn more, and live longer. Nice.
Inspiration for this article came from Human Progress.
Professor Jesse Ausubel, who teaches at the Rockefeller University and is an advisory board member of Human Progress, has just come out with a new paper estimating working time over a much longer period.
As he writes in Working Less and Living Longer: Long-Term Trends in Working Time and Time Budgets, in 1856 a British male worked 149,700 hours over the course of his lifetime. By 1981 that number dropped to 88,000 hours. That’s a decline of 41 percent. For women in Britain, paid work hours declined by 37 percent over the same time period.
in 1850 in England and Wales life expectancy at birth was 42, but over 25% of children died before the age of five. For those who survived, life expectancy rose to 57.