I personally think it is insane that we still work 40 hours per week today. Many people seem to deal with the ridiculous situation by wasting time at work (e.g. surfing Reddit for half the day). This is bad for the bottom line and, more importantly (because the effect is broader), bad for employee-morale.
I think part of the problem is that many in our society (talking about the US here) equate hours with "work". If you don't put in the time, you must not have done the work. And if you do the work in less time, you should just do more work (even when that doesn't make sense).
This jives with the message we keep hearing from the political class. That we have had things too good and that we just can't afford for everyone to have such "lavish" lifestyles any more. They seem to think things need to move in the opposite direction, more people working longer for less compensation.
I strongly disagree. But then, I am much more concerned with the quality and general happiness of my life overall than I am with how many widgets I create or consume.