Henry Ford’s thoughts on the economic value of leisure totally ignored by today’s academic priesthood as we lunge from one

ill-fated job-creation scheme to another

Besides manufacturing cheap, reliable cars, Henry Ford was a principal creator of the consumer mass market in the United States. He knew that, in order to sell cars, he had to tap a market supported by adequate wages and adequate leisure for working people. The same people who build cars, he said, are the people who consume them. It was an ecological understanding quite beyond the grasp of those who staff today’s economics departments or assume the pundit’s role in the media. In this interview published in World’s Work magazine, Henry Ford explains why he is switching from a 6-day, 48-hour workweek to a 5-day, 40-hour workweek in the Ford plants with no loss in pay. Leisure, he said, is an indispensable ingredient in a growing consumer market because working people need to have enough free time to find uses for consumer products, including automobiles. Ford’s name is also associated with the enormous improvements in labor productivity brought on by the automobile assembly line. Today we have other productivity-enhancing techniques; and it is mainly because of this that we as a consumer society need to think of further reductions in work time for working people. Either we do this or more people will be displaced from productive jobs and be reassigned to enterprises in government and elsewhere that do not provide useful goods or services.

The e-book titled “Henry Ford’s Reasons for Introducing a Five-Day Workweek in 1926” also contains a rebuttal from his grandson, Henry Ford II.

For a collection of articles on this subject, go to http://www.ShorterWorkWeek.com.

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