The past twenty years or so have seen remarkable social and economic changes. In the industrialised countries in particular, vast improvements in the techniques of production and distribution have made possible a substantial increase both in gross national product and in real income per head. However, many people wish to share in the benefits of technical progress not only through higher real earnings but also through an improvement in the quality of life and, in particular, through an easing of the strains and stresses of the daily round. This desire has led to a reconsideration of the proportion of time spent on paid work. The duration of the working week has in fact been reduced in recent years in most of the industrialised countries in which it had not already been brought down to about 40 hours and the International Labour Office has been urged to provide further information on the nature and extent of this development.
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