Global Capitalism is Dividing Humanity

This diagram shows working hours per year for employed. That is measured on the vertical scale. The sum of working hours in average consumed per capita by the total population, is measured horizontally.

From a humanitarian and utilitarian point of view the good direction is to the left and downwards in this diagram. Downwards indicates more efficient production – labor saving and less toiling, and movement to the left comes from better products, less working hours expended to satisfy human needs and wishes.
But this will only be true in case of ceteris paribus, the same circumstances, and there are many circumstances involved. Constant HALE or HDI might be a method to avoid being trapped.
The thin lines are made with data for the total economy as found in PWT 10.01 tables [1]. The fat red(-ish) arrow shows the total change in distribution of working hours from 1970, the turning point in the big bend 1969-1975 to the latest data. Which is 2019.
Development goes straight backwards in one of the directions, to higher cost of living. But the average working time per year is about the same. Still, it absolutely can’t be described as growth or progress.
The Triad[2]-countries (the thick blue arrow) on the other hand has had a positive development in both working time and cost of living. For some economists that might have been overshadowed by the big variations in the shorter time perspectives. I have chosen the year 1970 as a starting point for the comparison between The Triad and the total globalized economy, because up until then the development seems to have been somewhat more parallel.

© Fred Torssander 2023-07-16


[1] Feenstra, Robert C., Robert Inklaar and Marcel P. Timmer (2015), ”The Next Generation of the Penn World Table” American Economic Review, 105(10), 3150-3182, available for download at

[2] Acording to Samir Amin “nation-states of the triad … United States, each member of the European Union, Japan,  … Great Britain, … Germany, France, and a few others”
I have added a few others, as the “white colonies” and enclaves, and I have excluded what I think of as EU-perifery. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Hong Kong SAR, China, Macao SAR, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States

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