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Sustainability, growth & social justice

Presentation Alesund, Norway 18 September 2012

Willy De Backer

on 12 November 2012

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Transcript of Sustainability, growth & social justice

Second coming of the trade union movement Sustainability, growth
& social justice Climate Chaos Population growth:
the big taboo "Humanity is on an unsustainable path which could over time lead to the collapse of civilisation" State of the planet Possible Remedies Degrowth Green Economy In the past 30 years, 96% of the growth of average incomes in this country have gone to the richest 10% of the country. And in the past 10 years, the incomes of the other 90% have declined. Growing inequality Planetary Boundaries In the past 30 years, 96% of the growth of average incomes in this country have gone to the richest 10% of the country. And in the past 10 years, the incomes of the other 90% have declined. Resource Scarcity Physical supply-demand Price increases Energy Descent Peak Oil EROEI High Energy Prices GDP & High Energy Prices In 1930 U.S. got 100 barrels of oil back for each barrel invested in seeking it (EROI = 100:1)
In 1970 about 25 for 1
In 1990s about 11 to 18 for one
Much less for finding new oil (EROI = 3:1??) The Great Recession The Hydra of Unsustainability Crisis of Governance Decline of Democracy and the rise of populism and technocracy Decoupling Circular
Economy We need a Great Social and Economic Transformation Trade unions
Renewal or Re-Birth? The Doctor's Diagnosis "It is too late for sustainable development"
(Dennis Meadows Febr 2012) do we have the right medicine? Pieces of the puzzle Prosperity
without growth Beyond GDP Peer2Peer Economy Collaborative consumption Alternative currencies ... small Need to question "core business" and "core clients" starting from a new paradigm of well-being and quality of life instead of growth Re-think its role within the power establishment (beyond "social partner") and its power instruments (strike, collective bargaining) Build new alliances (civil society, new opposition movements, transition towns) - move from "workplace bargaining" unionism to "social movement" unionism Broaden agenda: fight for new democracy, ecological reform of economic model (one-planet economy) Become more radical in fighting social injustice We are not running out of oil But we are beyond the age of cheap and easy oil We are now moving to expensive and extreme oil Willy De Backer
Aalesund, 18 September 2012 debt deflation Redefine its role in companies by viewing companies not as entities driven by shareholder profit-making but as "companies-as community" (beyond "Mitbestimmung" model) James Hamilton: 10 out of 11 recent recessions were caused by high oil prices 2008: the bubble of casino capitalism exploded and bankers ("banksters") were blamed but real causes are: The transformation of industrial capitalism into financial and rentier capitalism (Michael Hudson) The hegemony of neo-liberal economic ideology even amongst leftist organisations Class war posing as "austerity" policies High commodity and energy prices Several recent studies indicate that climate change is speeding up climate change = climate chaos We are bumping into "limits to growth" and have entered the "post-growth" society crisis has been accelerated by Corporate welfare The myth of "trickle down" economics ("growth makes all boats rise") has been broken - what we have had in last 15 years is "trickle-up economics" (Joseph Stiglitz) Conclusions This is a crisis of growth-obsessed capitalism, a crisis of a model of production and consumption that has overshot its ecological and social limits Trade Unions will either be the victims of "Great Disruption" or they can help finish the puzzle of sustainability and become the architects of the new socially just and ecological transition to a new economic model THE CHOICE IS OURS! Follow us on http://www.scoop.it/t/the-great-transition http://3eintelligence.wordpress.com/ ? More growth with less environmental impact BAU plus new green production and consumption Waste = resources
Redesign production
Re-use; repair Downscaling production and consumption Radical Reform of Financial Sector Withering away with the capitalist industrial society Trade Unions 2.0 OR New indicators for progress and well-being Direct exchange of services between individuals using social-media based market places - renting Example: AirBnB Car pooling, city bike schemes ... e.g. Terra (Bernard Lietaer), the "Geuro" (Thomas Mayer, Deutsche Bank)
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