FTFP 12 – Debunking “Just Work Harder” As The Answer To Economic Hardship & Inequality

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This will be a bit different from my normal Fixing The Fixerpunk episodes, as I am largely discussing the issue of “working harder” and working exceptionally long hours being touted as the panacea to economic hardships and debt by conservatives, why the approach of just having people work more ultimately helps nobody, how overworking people results in less, not more, productivity, while shorter work weeks are proven to create improved productivity and overall outcomes for workers and the economy. 


– My #1 most viewed video on TikTok: the infamous student loan forgiveness video and the now long-running storyline resulting therefrom – please help me out and leave supportive comments!: https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTRW28eAb/

  • – Commenters keep saying just work harder to pay off debt
  • – One said they’re working 93 hours a week and that’s what’s needed to pay off debt
  • – Exceptional claims of 6 figure salaries
  • – Answering claims about working harder being a panacea is a stumbling block for progressive messaging
  • – My struggles with work endurance and trying to improve it
  • – Traumatic workplace experience
  • – Interview on the Job Jumpers Podcast with Connor Mac on the subject of bad workplaces, their negative impacts on society, and building a better society through worker power: https://redcircle.com/shows/4fc5fde2-19ed-428c-b0c4-a3a30f30ba1f/episodes/55c4d331-e8b4-4cc4-9315-12e6178a1dca
  • – Student loan borrowers are already working very hard to pay loans and high costs of living
  • – Comments stung me on a personal level 
  • – Claims that liberal/progressive policies don’t help the working class because they only help people who don’t want to work
  • – My scary visual of conservative commenters who say “just work harder” and who claim they’re wealthy because they work 90+ hours a week
  • – the definition of working class 
  • – Methods of improving work performance that I’ve tried: therapy, workouts, electrodes on my head
  • – Ashamed I can’t do manual labor, “tough guy stuff”
  • – Genetic differences in work performance 
  • – Most high performers with high levels of wealth are not working at the extremely high levels people on the Internet preach 
  • – Efficiency (and exploitation of labor) create wealth 
  • – The gains of efficiency go to capital, not labor
  • – Working fewer hours and doing more work is punished, not rewarded
  • – How to answer these comments with the efficiency & productivity argument 
  • – Productivity and value produced is stolen, basic labor theory of value 
  • – Having people work less hours can produce more peak performance 
  • – Study from Japan: more overtime resulted in less productivity, removing overtime hours caused more productivity, this was discovered by “accident” after cost-cutting measures were implemented. https://cepr.org/voxeu/columns/teams-become-more-productive-when-their-hours-are-shorter
  • – World Economic Forum discussion 
  • – Well established that after 50 hours a week productivity is not improved at all by adding hours, 35 hours believed to be optimal
  • – Iceland study: across numerous types of work, 2,500 workers, hours reduced from 40 to 35-36, no declines in productivity and increases seen for multiple departments, accountancy department saw 6.5% improvement. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210819-the-case-for-a-shorter-workweek
  • – performance strategies in athletics, entrepreneurship, and employment 
  • – methods of training endurance, for work endurance we don’t have good research vs. athletic endurance
  • – non-linear response to endurance training for complex work 
  • – we often don’t expect peak performance every day for hours on end from even elite athletes (eg. starting pitchers only throw once every 4-5 days)
  • – Telling people to “just work more hours” is not a strategy for peak performance or improving productivity and hence doesn’t actually benefit society 
  • – Increasing work endurance will take time, but conservatives want those in hardship to increase output from 40 to 60 hours a week immediately, a 50% improvement 
  • – It’s almost as bad as telling someone to go from doing a half marathon to a full marathon with little time to train 
  • – Distance runners who conserve energy at the beginning aren’t “quiet quitting” a race 
  • – Hypervigilance for longer periods of time may be needed in certain areas of work but it needs to be trained up over time, like training for a race
  • – More a matter of mental control and punishment than improving the productivity of the economy, if there is not a true need
  • – Why I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur: you can earn money based on being more efficient in delivering value versus trading time for money 
  • – Everyone has a different capacity for productivity, these are averages
  •  – Everyone should have the chance be rewarded for delivering value, not 
  • – Gaining ownership over the means of production means workers get rewarded for the gains in productivity 
  • – People who tell you to work harder may be well-intentioned and trying to be motivational 
  • – they don’t get that systems are not calibrated to achieve better productivity or performance for all of us, just to be punitive to workers
  • – Back to the personal: why do I have a low tolerance for work and stress or look angry with low levels of work? Still looking for answers. 
  • – Untethering from the idea of longer hours being the answer, but we all must live in a society that measures value in the number of hours you work
  • – Kicking out of negativity and getting knocked down by random bad things happening to me  
  • – Don’t take COVID lightly. Talk to your doctor and get a booster now, if you haven’t already: http://www.vaccines.gov 
  • – Work endurance training episode: https://podcast.greysonpeltier.com/wp/2021/12/20/ftfp-5-work-stress-tolerance-endurance-training-and-vyvanse/
  • – my psychologists say work endurance is more a matter of emotional coping skills than endurance training itself 
  • – the hammer and nail effect with CBT psychologists who do not look at the whole picture of mental health and performance 
  • – how does fitness training translate over to stress tolerance in the workplace? 
  • – Flow states and trying Wim Hof breathing a little
  • – Flow state episode: https://podcast.greysonpeltier.com/wp/2021/02/15/manufacturing-stoke-using-anxiety-and-negative-emotions-positively/
  • – easier to move from a 5k to 10k than moving from 40 to 60 hours a week of work
  • – scared about the future post-COVID
  • – society disowns people with disabilities, especially neurodivergence 
  • – if you can’t do a 40 hour work week due to disability or another reason, society doesn’t think your contributions to society have any real value 
  • – You can do the greatest work in the world, but if you aren’t a M-F, 8-5 worker, they often won’t even give you the time of day
  • – People in leadership who can contribute in a unique way and not work a conventional schedule and get paid well, maybe too well, for it
  • – Bad workplaces mean a worse society with less innovation
  • – The Young Bucks’ motto of Killing The Business encapsulates my philosophy of creating social change in the workplace and economic sphere


Call In with your comment, rant, or problem you’d like me to discuss on the show: 844-477-PUNK (7865)

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