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Presentation and transcription of an oral Session by Colin C. Williams and Richard J. White at the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona on the topic “Managing Degrowth: Employment, Security and the Economy under a degrowth trajectory”

Abstract: In response to the global economic, environmental and social equity crises, there is an urgent need for ‘new’ economic visions to accommodate and recognise the very real and significant diversity that exists in labour practices. The ‘economic’ is far richer, heterogeneous and pluralistic than crude mainstream binary frameworks have allowed for. In keeping with the radical thoughts that have emerged within the ‘whole economies’ school and the visions and ambition of the de-growth movement, the paper argues that there is an urgent need to reconceptualise the hierarchical binary reading of labour in terms of oppositional market or non-market realms, which, in dominant economic thought and practice, serves to promote and privilege the former at the expense of the latter. To recognise this diversity of labour practices in society the paper proposes a variant of a ‘total social organisation of labour’ (TSOL) approach to be adopted. The paper concludes by outlining some implications that this new framework has for sustainable economic degrowth, ecological sustainability and social equity.