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Abstract: The present work contributes to bringing visibility to the part of social work that is referred to as unpaid work. This part of social work remains outside the market, but it is necessary to structure and maintain households, human relationships and communities and providing sustenance and care. It represents a flow of hidden subsidies to the economy mostly shaped, structured and experienced by women. Through an explorative case study in Catalonia, we relate the use of time in Catalan society with the relative consumption of energy. This research strategy allows us to see the dangers of substituting labour and skills from household-based production to the commodity-based economy in terms of an increase in energy demand in a context of the end of cheap oil. On the contrary, from a degrowth perspective we argue that the future adaptability might require policies reallocating resources towards the unpaid and the community.

Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 38, January 2013, Pages 71–79, Degrowth: From Theory to Practice