Do you want the time or the money?

Robert Fogel has some deep insight into values in modern western society – particularly as they relate to the world of work and the implications these shifts have for employers
In this BOSS interview he argues that today’s workers value their time more than money. Fogel describes how industrialisation in agriculture is the source of today’s affluence. In the US in the 1850s, he points out that it took four people on the land to support one person living in a city. Today, the figures are reversed across the western world. Globally about 45% of the population is urbanised.
The same trend is evident in personal income. Whereas in the early 1800s the vast majority of personal income was required just to provide daily food, we now have relatively enormous disposable income.
The final part of this trend is time. With increased affluence we can afford to spend much more on health care. We live longer and now need to spend no more than about half of our lives in paid work to provide all our needs. This leads to a far greater proportion of our time spent both in leisure and contemplation of our purpose in life.
Fogel draws the implication that employers can no longer rely on undivided loyalty created by necessity to work and work will have to fit much more into employees’ purpose.

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