David Spencer

Why we should get three-day weekends – all the time

The idea of working less is not only feasible, it is also the basis for a better standard of life, argues David Spencer. Work does not set us free, rather it hems us in and makes it more difficult to realise ourselves.

As we enjoy the August bank holiday and a three-day weekend, it is worth reassessing the amount of time we […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The budget did nothing to tackle barriers that prevent higher productivity

The budget did nothing to tackle barriers that prevent higher productivity

George Osborne used his budget speech to portray the coalition government’s stewardship of the economy in positive light, referencing falling unemployment and expanding GDP. But the truth is that the policies of the present coalition government have hindered recovery in the economy, argues David Spencer.

George Osborne, predictably, used his budget speech to hail the good news regarding the labour market in the […]

Higher real wages would raise productivity and boost demand

The erosion of real wages has affected adversely the motivation and morale of workers thereby weakening productivity, argues David Spencer. Higher real wages would raise productivity and also induce the demand needed to absorb the extra output created by the rise in productivity. In short, a high wage economy is a precondition for a return to sustainable prosperity.

Two things stand out about the economic […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    In work, but poor: barriers to sustainable growth and the need for a living wage

In work, but poor: barriers to sustainable growth and the need for a living wage

While the UK has returned to growth, many workers continue to suffer economic hardship as real incomes have yet to recover. This means that, just as in the past, the UK economy is relying on an unsustainable growth model where workers spending more than they earn to support the economy. Setting the UK on a sustainable path and reversing the […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The data provided by life satisfaction surveys gives a very noisy signal of wellbeing

The data provided by life satisfaction surveys gives a very noisy signal of wellbeing

Data on life satisfaction can be misleading and potentially dangerous if wrongly interpreted, argues David Spencer. We should instead be asking deeper questions about the quality of our lives that conventional survey questions cannot fully grasp. Importantly, life satisfaction surveys are subject to bias given how norms and expectations as well as aspirations impact on peoples’ perceptions of the quality […]

The case for working less

Rather than ‘more work’, David Spencer argues that the pursuit of less work could provide a route to a better standard of life, including a better quality of work life. Reducing work time can be as much about realising the intrinsic rewards of work as reducing its burdensome qualities. It would also allow work to be shared more evenly across the available […]

January 24th, 2014|David Spencer|17 Comments|

Nasty, brutish and (possibly) short(-lived): Putting the UK recovery in context

Talk of recovery has a hollow ring while many millions of people are suffering real hardships in their lives, writes David Spencer. But as we approach 2014 it is important to keep alive the idea that things can be different. The positive counter-narrative is that somehow the existing consumption-led, debt-fuelled growth model in the UK can be challenged and an alternative put […]

The obsession with ‘hard work’ as a route to economic success is a dangerous distraction

The omnipresent slogan at the Conservative party conference, ‘for hardworking people’, reflects the belief that hard work is the proper way of living one’s life and the route to economic success. The rhetoric of George Osborne and his colleagues around hardworking people is not new but it remains regressive in its effects, not least in ignoring the real hardships faced by […]

October 7th, 2013|David Spencer|18 Comments|