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Friday is the New Saturday: How a Four-Day Working Week Will Save the Economy

A new book by Dr Pedro Gomes, Reader in Economics at Birkbeck explores the economic and social benefits of a four-day working week.

Pedro Gomes leaning against a book shelf.

The four-day working week may seem attractive to workers, however critics are quick to point out the potential risks that a shift in working patterns would cause the economy. 

A new book by Dr Pedro Gomes, Reader in Economics in Birkbeck’s Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statisticsdraws on economic theory, history and data to argue that working Monday to Thursday will bring about a ‘powerful economic renewal for the benefit of all society’. 

Friday is the New Saturday: How a Four-Day Working Week Will Save the Economy will be published by Flint, an imprint of The History Press in August 2021 and is available to pre-order now 

The book’s narrative is centred around the ideas of four economists from the 19th and 20th centuries: John Maynard Keynes, Joseph Schumpeter, Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek. Giving careful consideration to the counter arguments, Dr Gomes demonstrates how a four-day week can: 

  • stimulate the economy through demand 
  • raise productivity, innovation and wages 
  • reduce technological unemployment 
  • crush populist movements 
  • reconcile a polarised society. 

Laura Perehinec, Publishing Director, said: “I’m delighted to be publishing Pedro’s first book under our Flint imprint. He is passionate about economic theory but wears this lightly, writing with both acuity and warmth. And it’s a great time to re-examine the four-day week model, as we look to repair a country that has been divided by Brexit and an economy that’s been pummelled by the pandemic. A key aim for Flint is to publish ‘books that spark’, be it awareness, debate or action – Friday is the New Saturday has the potential to do all of these.” 

Dr Gomes said: “There is nothing biological, teleological or astrological about working five days. The working week is a social, political and economic construct. Why should it remain the same, when everything else in society has changed so profoundly? Many have made the social case for the four-day working week, but implicitly there is the idea that it would harm the economy – the economy is a price worth paying for the good life. I want to change this narrative and show that the four-day working week is a social innovation with a broader political appeal that will improve the way we organise economic activity, bring the benefits of economic growth to everyone, reconcile a polarised society and make for a better capitalism. We should do it for the economy!”  

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