Your racist uncle was right, Mediterraneans are lazy

The thought police want you to know that Greeks work just as hard as Germans. Here’s their smoking gun:

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average German worker put in 1,429 hours on the job in 2008. The average Greek worker put in 2,120 hours. In Spain, the average worker puts in 1,647 hours. In Italy, 1,802. The Dutch, by contrast, outdo even their Teutonic brethren in laziness, working a staggeringly low 1,389 hours per year.

The key sleight of hand that you’re supposed to miss is that these oh-so-politically-correct statistics focus on workers not citizens.

Let’s look at how many Greeks, Italians and Spaniards actually work compared to Dutch and Germans. The figures for the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards are: 59.6%, 56.9% and 58.6%, respectively. The figures for the Netherlands and Germany are: 74.7% and 71.1%.

So, while it’s true that the average Italian worker works more than the average German, it’s also true that the average Italian almost doesn’t work. In other words, the most productive 56.9% of Italians are, on average, more productive than the most productive 71.1% of Germans. Apparently, we’re supposed to consider this a win for Italy.

Interestingly, women in the Netherlands and Germany work at a much higher rate than women in Greece, Italy and Spain. So another thing that the politically correct stats might demonstrate is that Italian, Greek and Spanish men work harder than German and Dutch women.

This concludes today’s edition of "your racist uncle was right."

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11 Responses to Your racist uncle was right, Mediterraneans are lazy

  1. Vladimir says:

    Another sleight of hand, possibly even more important, is avoiding the question of what exact standards are applied in each of these countries to determine what qualifies as “work” hours. By this I mean the typical levels of slacking off, undocumented absenteeism, etc., as well as the proportion of total “work” hours contributed by cushy sinecures and pointless makework (typically taxpayer-financed or government-mandated).

    The implicit assumption that there are no relevant differences in this regard between the listed countries strikes me as a good illustration of the modern “social science” craziness.

  2. dearieme says:

    Given that Italian women are producing very few children, what on earth are they doing with their time?

    • icr says:

      As a payer of the BBC TV tax, you have the right to request that one of the great horde of BBC documentary teams roaming the planet goes forth and investigates this curious matter.

  3. josh says:

    While experience has taught me to defer to my racist uncle, I don’t see how you’ve made his point. It seems obvious, to me at least, that a Greek wife and mother “works” much harder than a German HR Rep. for the PR department of the marketing division for the Committee to Increase Diversity in Social Work or whatever it is most women do. Compare man to man and women to women and I’m not sure what you get. Obviously Germans are smarter, more organized, and more systematic, and are able to achieve enterprises of great economies of scale without starting a multi-generational clan feud, but do they work harder?

  4. Master Po says:

    In other words, the most productive 56.9% of Italians are, on average, more productive than the most productive 71.1% of Germans.

    Even that depends on how you define “productive”. Hours of work alone do not really tell us much (so I type… whilst at work).

  5. rightsaidfred says:

    Ugh. You made me read some Ygl: “your assets are my debts.” Right, Matt. Keep borrowing against my stuff.

  6. Alrenous says:

    The idea it’s supposed to support is that somehow the Germans are stealing from the Greeks (rather than reverse) to pay for their laziness. Because egalitarianism is what happens if nobody is doing anything underhanded, you see.

    In reality, even if the stats are exactly true, it means that Germans have invested enough capital that they can afford to work ~20% less than Greeks can, and still end up making more stuff.

  7. […] to the north. Holy crap that’s stupid. Besides the issues that have been brought up here, and other places, we have the fact that Germany is “the world’s second largest exporter with $1.474 […]

  8. […] He links to this page that says: “New data published this morning shows that Greek workers actually put in longer hours than anyone else in Europe — 42.2 per week, compared to just 35.6 in Germany.”  This reminded me of one of my favorite Foseti posts: […]

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