In the current economic debacle, we inherit a treasure from the past class struggles of treasure : the institutions of social security (health, pension, unemployment, family). In France, we celebrate seventy years of the 4 October 1945 order for the creation of a coordinated network of funds and the Act of 22 May 1946 establishing the principle of the extension of social security to all of the population.
Far from being marginalized as sometimes said, these institutions weigh for almost a quarter of the economic value in the main countries of Western Europe (Source: OECD / Social Security Expenditures Database). They are crucial to who does not have sufficient means to safeguard against accidents of life. Although the trend towards nationalization – especially for family and health – is obvious, social security could ensure, without recourse to the State, a public good that each one can enjoy without selling anything. They recognize a non-capitalist economic value to people and their work: care work, the unemployed, pensioners, parents …
Social security has evolved and must still evolve. Still we can extend the institutions of social security? However, political and trade union movement in this direction can no longer ignore the reality of the ecological crisis we face. Also the political ecology movements to recognize the potential benefit of own emancipation to social security.
An argument often heard is a necessary condition for funding is the greatest possible growth of economic value, which happens to be one of the structural causes of environmental degradation … What would a social security in a society without growth ?
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Degrowth and social security“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.