Chair: Marisa Matias, MEP (GUE/NGL)
Panellists: Esther Lynch (ETUC, Confederal Secretary), Lars Vande Keybus (FGTB)
Chair: Marisa Matias, MEP (GUE/NGL)
“A societal change towards sustainability, can not succeed without a transformation of work and society based around work, so becomes extremely important and fundamental reconsider the current social – economic system, in order to create a path that can lead to a sustainable society, where people and nature can collaborate to find their own spaces, their own times and to listen to their needs, in an equal and common way. Inside this societal model, what would be the role of work?”
Master dissertation in Human Ecology and Contemporary Social Problems (May 2020)
“In writing this opinion article we hope to encourage thinking about how academics may transform our work ethos now and in the future. This disruptive time can become an opportunity to foster a culture of care, refocus on what is most important, change expectations about the meaning of quality teaching and research, and in doing so make academic practice more respectful and sustainable.”
Presentation by Mikael Malmaeus
Historically, value theories used to be at the heart of critiques of capitalism. However, contemporary economists rarely focus on value theories, and the labor theory of value has not been discussed in relation to macroeconomic growth or in the context of degrowth. In this article it is theoretically and empirically demonstrated that economic values at the macroeconomic level are fundamentally determined by the use of production factors, primarily labor and physical capital as predicted by the labor theory of value. Technical innovations or efficiency gains increasing utility without raising the costs of production do not add to the GDP unless they stimulate investments in physical capital. It is also shown that the Solow model, which is frequently applied in growth accounting, cannot be meaningfully applied to predict changes in the monetary value of production at the macro level and that results obtained with this model, indicating that increases in total factor productivity play a major role in achieving GDP growth, are theoretically flawed. In practice, GDP growth is mostly explained by capital accumulation and a key question is whether or not capital accumulation can be decoupled from the use of materials and energy. What is certain is that GDP growth cannot, according to the labor theory of value, be decoupled from capital investments and degrowth therefore implies the end of capital accumulation. Beyond GDP growth the role of human labor in the realization of economic values will be accentuated.
Presentation by Saamah Abdallah
Degrowth is a post-materialist movement, which places value on the biosphere, human wellbeing, and justice, above and beyond the possession of material goods (Degrowth Declaration, 2008). And yet surveys suggest that levels of materialism are higher in post-socialist countries than in Western European countries (Kyvelidis, 2001). In the sixth round of the European Social Survey (2012), nine of the ten countries where respondents agreed most to the statement “it is important to be rich, have money and expensive things” were in Central and Eastern Europe. This suggests that advancing degrowth in post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe may prove even more challenging than in Western Europe.
This paper will seek to explore the patterns of materialism in these countries. It will use data from the European Social Survey (ESS), operationalising materialism using the Schwarz Human Values Scale which has been included in all seven rounds of the survey. It will seek to address three questions:
1. What individual and societal-level factors are associated with materialism in Central and Eastern Europe? Potential factors to consider include:
a. Demographics (age, income, education, parental education)
b. Attitudes towards businesses
c. Prevalence of advertising in society (Kasser, 2011), and exposure to advertising
2. How have levels of materialism changed over time in Central and Eastern Europe, between 2002 and 2014?
3. Do levels of materialism predict intentions to reduce working hours? Does the relationship between materialism and the intention to reduce working hours vary between countries?
We will consider implications of this research for advancing degrowth
Chair: Guillaume Balas, MEP (S&D)
Panellists: Viktorija Smatko-Abaza (Principal Adviser, European Commission, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), Monika Kiss (European Parliamentary Research Service), Pascal Lokiec (Sorbonne University, Author of “Il faut sauver le droit du travail !”), Aida Ponce (European Trade Union Institute, Senior Adviser)
Chair: Alojz Peterle, MEP (EPP)
Panellists: Simone d’Alessandro (University of Pisa), Daniel Mügge (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Professor of Political Arithmetic), Bjorn Döhring (European Commission, Head of Unit for Economic situation, forecasts, business and consumer surveys), Arthur Turrell (Co-Author of “An Interdisciplinary Model for Macroeconomics” (Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Jan.2018)), Nicole Dewandre (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)
Deutschlands Wirtschaft rutscht ab. Die Industrie leidet unter US-Handelskriegen, Brexit-Angst und schwächerer Weltwirtschaft. Stehen wir vor einer der üblichen Konjunkturkrisen oder vor einem epochalen Umbruch? Klimaschutz und Digitalisierung zwingen die Unternehmen zu Abbau und Umbau der alten Arbeitsplätze, zum „Neu-Erfinden“ ganzer Produktionszweige. Wen erreicht die Krise zuerst? Für wen ist morgen noch Platz in der neuen, grünen, digitalen Arbeitswelt? Retten wir das Klima und/oder riskieren wir ohne Not Arbeitsplätze?
“maybrit illner“ mit dem Thema ” Abschwung, Jobs und Klimarettung – riskieren wir unseren Wohlstand?” am Donnerstag, den 26. September 2019, um 22:15 Uhr im ZDF.
Germany’s economy is staggering. Industry suffers from US trade wars, Brexit fears and a weaker global economy. Are we facing one of the usual economic crises or an epochal upheaval? Climate protection and digitalization are forcing companies to reduce and convert old jobs, to “reinvent” entire branches of production. Who does the crisis reach first? For whom will there be a place tomorrow in the new, green, digital world of work? Are we saving the climate and/or risking jobs without need?
“maybrit illner” with the theme “Downturn, jobs and climate rescue – do we risk our prosperity?” on Thursday, 26 September 2019, at 22:15 on ZDF.
Struggles for Environmental Justice, more widespread in the global South, are often framed as traditional societies defending “old ways of life”; while degrowth, a relatively new movement in the global North is seen as striving for a “new ways of life.” I argue that both assert or aspire for other ways of being and belonging to the world and open possibilities for post-capitalist futures. In this Commentary, I focus on ontological continuities between the two movements and the grounds for alliance building. I argue that EJ and degrowth movements need to not only learn from each other, but think with the actual practices on the ground and the epistemologies of the South to foster pluriversal world-making practices. Moreover, dialogues and alliance between the two movements can help to reconceptualize work and care in a post-production, post-growth world.
Ecological Economics, Vol. 163, September 2019, pp. 138-142
Abstract: This article examines how rumors impact democracy and transparency in a cooperative workplace. Although literature on rumors generally analyzes them as negative to workplace culture, the author argues that rumors constitute a critical aspect of democratic participation. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in a worker-recuperated business in Argentina, the author shows how members use rumors to incite deliberation, participate in decision-making, question organizational policy, and oversee managerial authority. Although informal communication at work can create uncertainty, confusion, and concerns about efficiency, the author finds that rumors can also increase worker influence, encourage organizational accountability, and ultimately protect against the consolidation of power.
Work and Occupations, July 2019
Abstract: Struggles for Environmental Justice, more widespread in the global South, are often framed as traditional societies defending “old ways of life”; while degrowth, a relatively new movement in the global North is seen as striving for a “new ways of life.” I argue that both assert or aspire for other ways of being and belonging to the world and open possibilities for post-capitalist futures. In this Commentary, I focus on ontological continuities between the two movements and the grounds for alliance building. I argue that EJ and degrowth movements need to not only learn from each other, but think with the actual practices on the ground and the epistemologies of the South to foster pluriversal world-making practices. Moreover, dialogues and alliance between the two movements can help to reconceptualize work and care in a post-production, post-growth world.
Ecological Economics, Volume 163, September 2019, pp. 138-142
Abstract: Hannah Arendt’s three-fold conceptualization of human activity offers a useful base for understanding the necessity of degrowth and the kinds of activities required to achieve it. The article argues that the different roles of labour, work, and action should be acknowledged and scrutinized in detail to appreciate the underpinnings of contemporary over-production and over-consumption, as well as to prompt the organization of an alternative society. While following the Arendtian analysis on the origins of meaningful political change, which emphasizes the utmost importance of ‘action’, the article also underscores the importance of a different conception of ‘labour’ through physical activity, such as community supported agriculture, and ‘work’ through social activity such as building off-grid energy systems. The study aligns itself with Arendt’s key insight that the origin of most contemporary problems relates to the disappearance of ‘action’, which for her is political, but also argues that the distinction between ‘paid’ and ‘non-paid’ activity has to be carefully considered in the context of degrowth. The article concludes that non-paid activities, particularly in the form of Arendtian ‘action’, have great potential to contribute to the degrowth movement. Demonetized activities are important for degrowth, as monetary transactions in capitalist societies based on interest and debt tend to contribute to economic growth, which is deemed ecologically unsustainable.
Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 211, February 2019, pp. 555-565
The article aims at showing the relevance of understanding the transformations of class composition for strengthening the connection between degrowth and environmental justice (EJ). In particular, I suggest the heterodox line of Autonomist Marxism as enabling factor of such connection. From an ecological perspective, the changing components of the working-class can be grasped by assessing the historical development of the value-nature nexus, and specifically of labour’s role within it. In fact, capitalism does not have but rather is an ecological regime. Value creation occurs not upon nature, but through it – that is, within socio-natural relations emerging from the articulation of capital, power and the environment. My basic argument is that in contemporary capitalism conditions of existence and reproduction of society have become key drivers for surplus value production – most notably in carbon trading. Hence, EJ resistances are instances of class struggle and degrowth theoretical elaboration would benefit from incorporating such class-character. In this unprecedented situation, the task of the critique of political economy is not only that of unmasking ruling class’ attempts to naturalize capitalism. It also requires resisting to elites’ endeavours to directly capitalize nature.