Advances in technology and automation have reduced the need for manual labor. Therefore working hours should be reduced. To what extent do you agree?
In many production-oriented factories, machinery has evolved to such a degree that the demand for physical labor has considerably reduced, leading to the suggestion of a reduced working week. However, there are several factors that need to be considered.
Primarily, the long-term impact of shorter working weeks needs to be considered. Although less time at work may sound appealing, the reality is that people may find that they have too much free time. Fewer working hours would presumably mean less income, so a situation arises where employees have more leisure time than their income can support. This has the potential to result in feelings of boredom, frustration or anxiety, all of which have potential side-effects for society as a whole.
Connected with this comes the social factor of self-esteem. Working less is one thing; working less because robots can complete the tasks you were assigned is another. A solution that would benefit all those concerned would be to utilize the time no longer required for manual labor for something more productive. Instead of simply reducing the working week, a combination of industry and government support could allow for employees to receive further education and training, thus giving those employed in manual labor the academic tools to find different employment. Even automated factories still require technicians, mechanics and designers to maintain and improve production.
To summaries, until such time as automation has reduced the working week for all types of employee, it would perhaps be counter-productive to reduce the hours of those involved in manual labor without providing an alternative simply because they are replaceable.