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So, the holidays are over and the media can return to a favourite topic for panic mongering, one regularly picked up after any extended break or Bank Holiday; what damage has our lack of work done to the economy?

Apparently:

  • 3 million people have had 2 weeks off over Christmas 2007
  • Business Leaders (who they?) have complained of a ‘virtual shutdown’
  • The cost to the economy has been £21 billion, Bank Holidays alone cost £6 billion apparently
  • The days that Christmas has fallen on this year have caused an extra £3 billion of ‘cost’ compared to last year

On the other side of the argument:

  • 1.8 million workers only used half their holiday entitlement in 2007
  • 241,000 took no holiday at all in 2007
  • The value of holiday not taken in 2007 was £13.9 billion

These figures always strike me as being complete nonsense; they would only have any value if we were working and living in some sort of insect community where only the greater good mattered rather than the individual – like a colony of bees.
Despite the concerns of the often quoted ‘Business Leaders’ this is mercifully not the case.

The economy has not lost £21 billion, as it was never there in the first place. Sure, we might have made another £21 billion if we had all carried on working, but then we could also make it if we all did 18 hour days and never had a weekend off… Would that satisfy the ‘Business Leaders’ and the demands of ‘the economy’?
Stories like this treat the ‘economy’ as if it were some self contained entity – it’s not, it’s you, me and everyone else… we don’t work for it, we are it.

The other factor that makes this talk complete nonsense is; given that the UK makes very little and our economy is based largely on shopping and other service industries, who do the ‘Business Leaders’ think is supplying all the custom?
If we were all hard at work in our respective zones then none of us would have any customers = economic stalemate, go figure…

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