Friday is the New Saturday. How a Four-Day Working Week Will Save the Economy
The concept of working four days a week started decades ago and has divided opinions. But as we slowly emerge from the pandemic, the conversation around the idea is gaining force. Pedro Gomes presents a compelling approach to the topic, rooting his arguments in a range of economic theories, history and data — focused on the improvement of society. The narrative is constructed around the ideas of influential economists John Maynard Keynes, Joseph Schumpeter, Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek. The book is thoroughly researched, providing substantial analysis of both the benefits and drawbacks of changing the status quo of the five-day week. The book examines arguments from both the left and right of the political spectrum. The first part explains the historical panorama of the four-day working movement, with statistics, facts and initial thoughts on how the economic activities could be reorganized to influence a healthy societal change. Moving on, the author blends economic theory, opinions of brilliant minds, stories of successful companies, anecdotal evidence and examples based on data to persuade readers from different ideological preferences. He uses eight economic statements to explore different scenarios of what people would do with their extra day off work. In one of the statements — “Because it will give people more freedom to choose how to spend their time” — Gomes comments that under the four-day week, workers would have more freedom to decide how much and when to work, leveraging productivity and a better work-life balance. The final part examines the practical details of implementing the four-day working week, in both the private and public sectors, how it could propel innovation and remodel our idea of freedom. After all, Keynes believes “the biggest problem is not to let people accept new ideas, but to let them forget the old ones.” — FT Book of the Month
Fingers crossed that this book will shake up the five-day working week. — Sir Christopher Pissarides, Nobel Laureate in Economics
A compelling approach to the topic. — Financial Times
I kept wanting to read more – both because of the importance of the idea, the nice manner in which it was presented, and the way in which the author’s genial and enthusiastic persona radiated through so clearly. — Jason Furman, Professor of Economic Policy at Harvard University and Chairman of Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers
Should be on the bookshelves of every socially curious reader. — Pietro Garibaldi, Professor of Economics, University of Turin
Rooting his arguments in the writings of the greatest economists is a brilliant device: not only does it confer the seal of scholarship to Gomes’ work, but it also shows that one does not need to be a leftist to see the economic case for the four-day working week. — Francesco Caselli, Norman Sosnow Professor of Economics, London School of Economics
In the 20th century, the five-day working week replaced the six- day week… Pedro Gomes’ book provides considerable food for thought about moving to the next stage. — Rachel Ngai, Associate Professor of Economics, London School of Economics
Friday is the New Saturday makes a compelling, provocative and timely case for societal change.
Drawing on an eclectic range of economic theory, history and data, Dr Pedro Gomes argues that a four-day working week will bring about a powerful economic renewal for the benefit of all society. It will stimulate demand, productivity, innovation and wages, whilst reducing unemployment and crushing populist movements. The arguments come from both the left and right of the political spectrum to show that a polarized society can still find common ground.
In the 1800s, people in the West worked six days each week, resting on Sundays. In the 1900s, firms began to give workers Saturdays off as well, realizing that a two-day weekend helped the economy. In the 2000s, Friday will become the new Saturday, and we will never look back.