Working time: Emperor Constantine is always right

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The opening of stores 12 Sundays a year (rejected by the federal parliament during the spring session) or 4 “only” Sundays (refused on March 7 by Bernese citizens) would perhaps have given rise to some compensation for the staff. The fact remains that these proposals were part of the concept according to which if everyone works more, growth will increase and “happiness” with it, as also maintained by Nicolas Sarkozy (“Work more to earn more”). What the Emperor Constantine I had already denied by decreeing Sunday as a legal day of rest from July 3, 321 throughout the Roman Empire.

These assertions are more ideological than field analysis. We are living today in a time when many predict that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will result in the loss of millions of jobs in Europe. In this context, we forget that what makes the wealth of a country, it is not the hours of work done by each individual, but the total of the hours of work produced by all working people. However, in France, since the Liberation, the volume of hours worked had never reached such a record as under the government of Lionel Jospin (see A troubled time, Seuil, 2020), which, with Martine Aubry, had implemented the 35-hour week, which had favored a drop in unemployment.