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It could be a collective action problem. Everybody would be better off if everyone were limited to 40 hour weeks, but nobody wants to take the hit in perception that would result from adopting one on their own.

It's probably not the case that everyone would be better off if work weeks were limited to 40 hours because of the administrative costs of ensuring 40 hour weeks. A statutory 40 hour week works when everyone comes into work at the same time, or when people punch clocks. It's much harder for knowledge workers who drop in and out of "flow" at semi-random times.

To be clear, you're not arguing against the thesis of the argument, correct?

> ... when people punch clocks.

If I ever run a technology company, the engineers will punch clocks. If they work too long, their pay will be docked.[1] The clock punch machine will lock out the IT systems for an employee who is clocked out.

1. I'm paying for the beginner's mind and flow. Somebody sabotage's that, they get invoiced the same as breaking the coffeemaker on purpose.

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