We need to work less to save the world? What is behind the idea

How we work has changed in the Corona-crisis - in very different ways. Some people were burdened by child-care and work twice. Others suddenly had more leisure

We need to work less to save the world? What is behind the idea

How we work has changed in the Corona-crisis - in very different ways. Some people were burdened by child-care and work twice. Others suddenly had more leisure time because urgent delivery the elimination appointments. Others, for example nurses and Doctors, supermarket employees or garbage men have been stylized to heroes, which the people from their balconies and applauded.

Philip Frey is a PhD candidate at the Karlsruhe Institute of technology. He says there's a lot you can deduce, for the benefit of the people and of the planet to learn. Last year, he made a study of headlines. He suggested that the Europeans should be limited to a Nine-hour working week, in order to prevent climate collapse.

"Between carbon emissions and hours of work, there is a positive correlation,” says Frey. "Most of us produce on the weekend less CO2 than in a normal working day.”

This applies not only for Employees in areas, the set, per se, a lot of carbon-free, such as the manufacturing industry and energy production. Another factor is emissions from commuters and offices, which need to be operated. How we work affects our consumer behaviour. Studies indicate that longer working hours are associated with more consumption, and that this effect is not only to do with the income.

It is much more likely that workers who have little time, use the car instead of public transport. They buy more energy-intensive products, save time, eat ready-made meals, "prefer to extravagant spending and non-sustainable lifestyles”, according to a study.

Is the consumer to blame?

"Everybody knows that you have to consume less," says Frey. It is not clear that the energy balance is not sustainable. But it focuses only on consumption, is made the individual responsible and not the System in question, the behind the unnecessary production of many goods.

"We are not having a debate about how we spend our working time actually. It is customary that we give individuals the ethical and moral instructions for action. But we should talk about how we organise our economy and the products we produce," says Frey.

Not least of the Lockdown while the Corona has brought the crisis to us a Pause to reflect on what the Work actually meet the essential needs of the society. Most of the jobs in the public sector are often paid poorly or not at all.

According to the UN, is unpaid, 41 percent of the world's work: for example, the care of children and the elderly, domestic work and fetching water.

"We appreciate the activities, the profits for the economy, create more than jobs that are critical to the sustainability of life is important," says Amaia Perez Orozco, Treasurer of the feminist collective XXK. "Therefore, we have a completely distorted perception of the value of the work.”

an Alternative to A "Junkie economy,"

In a System that is focused on Profit and growth, will be rewarded work, the resources into products and then waste turns. But the human and environmental aspects are not taken into account in this System.

"It comes to a collapse, if the base is weaker, and the System tries to continue to grow," says Margarita Mediavilla University of Valladolid. "Our society already entered a pattern of collapse and over-exploitation." COVID-19, she adds, "makes us even more fragile and shows the pattern of the collapse is even more apparent.”

media Villa says that traditional societies wanted to work only as much as was necessary to satisfy the needs of the people. They took care of the natural resources on which their livelihood depended. In contrast, today's "Junkie business," which is of cheap Oil, cheap labour and cheap resources to produce, "more and more, so people can ‘lead a supposedly' decent life."

For some of the ecological costs of this System show up at the employment opportunities.

Brototi Roy is a political ecologist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and has explored the conflicts in the Indian coal sector. They reported of an Interview with workers who suffer from the fact that they work for an industry that polluted their Land and their environment. Earlier, this country has fed you.

The goal of harmful industries to close for environmental reasons, or the production shut down, is always in contrast to the concern to preserve jobs.

But it is of little concern what the employees actually want, says Roy. In your opinion, the question should be: "For what kind of work we are still, and why don't we ask the people who do this work, whether we could offer an Alternative?"

Universal basic income

For some low-income earners in India and some other places in the world, an Alternative has been tried - the universal (or unconditional) basic income is also discussed by politicians and citizens in Germany again and again. This idea is encountered since the outbreak of the pandemic to be of great interest. The public acceptance is growing, supported by think tanks and politicians. Spain is planning this month is a minimum to introduce come. Ministers from Spain, Italy and Portugal, are calling for this model for the whole of the European Union.

eco-conscious advocates of a basic income would give workers more Power. You should be able to reject a job is bad for your well-being or the planet. So even those who do the important but unpaid work may achieve financial independence.

In the free time people have for themselves and the environment, would you feel attracted to, perhaps, less "consumption as a substitute for action”, executed by the to purchase things that you feel are better status symbols, or products, which supposedly, the mood should: if you feel burned out.

how Many hours of work do the people and the planet well?

The basic income is proposed as a solution, if people will be through technological developments such as artificial intelligence, unemployed. This is the former Greek Finance Minister and Economist, Yanis Varoufakis, suggested in a recent Videobotschaftvor. The basic income is supposed to win, in his opinion, by dividends from the company and not by the payroll tax can be financed.

In his essay "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren” from the year 1930, the said John Maynard Keynes, the people, must work through an automation of the industry, only 15 hours per week. Frey says, Keynes and some of the others from this time have "underestimated how much of the consumption could increase.”

"What is our main goal?", asks Frey. "It is the satisfaction of human needs with minimal ecological resources? Or organized [the economy] so that maximum revenue and company profits?”

Frey says he was surprised by the optimal hours of work, which resulted in its calculations, on the basis of the emission values.

such A drastic reduction in our working hours could be good for the climate, but he does not believe that this would be economically sustainable. Instead, he argues for a redistribution of work and a controlled reduction of the weekly working time to 20 to 24 hours. This is according to some studies, also for the health of employees and the productivity is optimal.

author: Ruby Russell

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Date Of Update: 19 June 2020, 10:26