“But that would cripple our economy,” Mr. Bates objected.
“Rubbish,” Mr. Magundi replied. “Our capitalist economy is a work of fiction; it’s a story we tell ourselves, over and over, until we believe it. Two generations ago, it was a known fact that men worked all day and their wives stayed home to take care of the children. In our own time, it’s an equally unchallenged assumption that both members of a married couple must work, dropping their children off in some convenient storage bin for most of their waking hours. This doubling of the work force would have had dreadful effects on our economy if capitalism were really based on immutable laws; but it didn’t, because that wasn’t the story we chose to tell ourselves. Now, if our economy could absorb an enormous increase of the work force, it could certainly adapt to a decrease in the working hours. As soon as enough of us choose to tell ourselves the story that a work week has twenty hours in it, it will be true, insofar as any statement about our economy can be said to be ‘true.’”