This endless quest for growth will see Greece self-destruct

This article was originally published here in The Guardian.

Greek no votes no in referendumGreece’s no vote has left everyone wondering what it all means. While the topline summary is that No won with 61.3% of the vote, this is perhaps not the landslide victory it has been hailed to be.

For a start, there is confusion around what the referendum was actually about. Were Greek people voting to decide whether to stay in the Euro? Was it about saying no to more austerity? Or defending national pride and southern European culture? Talking to Greeks yesterday, you might have thought there were several referendums happening simultaneously – a perfect illustration of just how muddy the waters of the debt crisis are.

For many following the crisis for the last five months, it has become clear that it is not just about Greek debt. Beneath the cultural tensions and ugly stereotypes, an ideological war is taking place. This battle is happening because the current economic system has only two answers to debt crises, recessions and slow economic growth: stimulus and austerity.

Stimulus is about the government pumping money into the economy to encourage consumer spending, which will theoretically lead to economic growth. In recent times, stimulus efforts have taken the form of the government spending money on infrastructure and other socially beneficial projects (think the New Deal) and quantitative easing. Austerity is a set of measures that aim to cut government spending and shrink the public sector to make the economy less dependent on it, which in theory should make room for and encourage a burgeoning free market (ie neo-liberalism).

The argument against government-led stimulus asks how the economy can grow if the government has to keep expanding its debt and/or money supply in order to start new projects and stimulate the economy. Surely the stimulation it provides will never compensate for growing levels of debt? Anti-austerity advocates, on the other hand, ask how the economy can grow if people make less money and taxes are higher – people will save, not spend, and economic growth is based on consumer spending.

The issue of austerity versus stimulus is often framed as the entire debate – if you don’t support one, you must support the other, because there are no alternatives. This is the same binary debate that has been going on for more than 100 years between the state versus the market. Yet, these dichotomies distract people from thinking about what’s really important – the goal of these policies, which is to grow the economy.

No analysis I’ve read thus far has questioned the damaging role that the endless quest for economic growth plays. Neither austerity nor government stimulus will ever be able to address the debt crises and recessions of the twenty-first century because what we’re dealing with here is an inherent contradiction of capitalism.

This contradiction comes from the surplus of the system (profit) being taken out of the real economy (the economy of physical goods and services) and put into the financial sector to generate more wealth for people who are already wealthy. This requires the economy to continually grow to compensate for the extraction of profit, which is essentially the extraction of the economy’s surplus.

However, this extraction of profit is the same mechanism at the root of soaring levels of inequality. A recent Oxfam report estimates that, by 2016, the richest 1% of the world’s population will own more than the other 99%. If the average person is making relatively less every year, or struggling just to maintain the same financial state, they can’t afford to buy ever more products and services, so the economy can’t grow as it did when we had more financial equality. Thus capitalism has always carried the seed of its own demise.

We are seeing this self-destruction in Greece. The current Syriza government wants to go back to the negotiating table and create a new bailout agreement that will cut the debt to a more manageable size and reform the public sector in ways that won’t affect the most vulnerable. This would still be austerity, albeit a much milder version than that of the past five years. Yanis Varoufakis resigned from his post as Greek finance minister to allow for smoother negotiations between Greece and its European partners in the hope of reaching such an agreement.

If an agreement can’t be reached, Greece might well go back to the drachma. However, the government has no clear plan for this and an unplanned exit from the euro would be painful, with the poorest hit the hardest.

In all of these scenarios, the government’s goal would still be to re-start economic growth, even at the cost of creating more inequality. None of these options gets to the roots of capitalism’s inherent contradiction. There’s no way to grow ourselves out of this crisis; not for Greece, not for the rest of the world. What we are witnessing is the beginning of the collapse of capitalism.

So what is a sustainable path forward for Greece? If the Greek government could see that it won’t be able to re-start growth, and that GDP growth is a means to an end, not an end in itself, there are steps it could take to start paving a new path to prosperity for its people.

In addition to the basics – restructuring the Greek debt, deep reforms in the public sector to make it more transparent and accountable, and the strengthening of the solidarity economy – I suggest the following:

1. Greece should go back to a national currency to have more autonomous decision-making with regards to its own economy, which it needs if it wants to pave a more sustainable path. This is not a simple move, so the government will have to have a plan for such a transition, with safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.

2.The government should nationalise the banks and encourage people to start credit unions. This will re-align the banking sector with the needs of citizens and make the banks more resilient. Credit unions would empower people to take financial matters into their own hands.
Greece should keep for-profit interests from buying up its common wealth. This could be done via land trusts, not-for-profits and amending the constitution to make it unconstitutional for the government to sell off the commons.

3.The Greek government should start using a wellbeing or happiness index to measure success, as Bhutan does. In this age of inequality, working class people and the unemployed can easily slip through the cracks of GDP growth.

4.Businesses and the government should shorten the working week and encourage job-sharing, so more people can have part-time employment. This would counter the current problem of some having no work while others work 50 hours a week.

5.Finally, the government should create legislation and encourage not-for-profit enterprise in every sector to prevent the extraction of profits from the real economy and encourage social entrepreneurs and innovators to start up their own not-for-profits. These enterprises would help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Greece, create a more stable economy and keep the financial surplus in the real economy. By building an economy around social purpose, Greece could usher in the post-capitalist era, rather than fall victim to the unavoidable collapse of capitalism we are witnessing.

Jennifer Hinton is the co-author of How on Earth: Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050, which will be published in October 2015.

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Image: demonstration for decisive NO vote in Greek 2015 debt referendum at Syntagma square, Athens Greece. Photo by Ggia, with Creative Commons licensing. 

Peak Oil Comic

2015-04-en-Peak-Oil-116The phrase “peak oil” is now commonplace, especially among sustainability circles. Yet a solid understanding of what it really means and where the concept came from is decidedly less so.

If you’d like to learn about it without trawling through dense specialist books, want to easily explain it to someone else, or just hold a real appreciation for quality science-communication, then the online comic Peak Oil by Stuart McMillen is well worth a look. Continue reading “Peak Oil Comic”

What We’re Watching – May 2015

This is part of an ongoing series highlighting what our members are currently reading and watching in the Post Growth and sustainability realms. 

Screenshot 2015-05-26 22.42.15

Revolution – directed by Rob Stewart

The second feature film of Canadian filmmaker Rob Stewart, Revolution is a beautifully wrought tale of the biggest threats to our planet and the movement to reverse them. It will no doubt inspire a countless many, particularly youth, to join the cause.

The film opens behind the scenes of Stewart’s first film, Sharkwater, in which he shed light on the plight of the global shark population. It brings us to a screening in Hong Kong where he is faced with a tough question from an audience member: what’s the point of banning shark finning if the UN predicts the collapse of world fisheries by 2048? He has no real answer. Yet even as he admits that, “If she was right, my last six years meant nothing,” he commits to seeing this question through. This is the fuel for his next quest, which becomes Revolution – watch the trailer below and the full film here.

Stewart and his crew travel to New Guinea, where we see haunting images of lifeless coral reefs and learn about the threat of mass extinction from ocean acidification. Discovering that the only thing we can do to stop ocean acidification is stop burning fossil fuels is the next turning point – we then head to Copenhagen to learn about the climate community. Moving from anti-coal activists in Washington, D.C., to deforestation in Madagascar, the fight for the Alberta tar sands, and finally the UN climate conference in Cancun, the film deftly leads us through the landscape of the modern environmental movement. It unravels the truth that it’s not about saving the oceans, it’s about saving us all – and we are our own worst enemy in the struggle.

Stewart’s personal awakenings on these issues provide a useful and engaging structure for the film. His journey from a fascination with a single problem to the realization of its systemic causes is one many of us at the Post Growth Institute are familiar with, and he makes it easy for viewers to come along. The way he dives (no pun intended) into the world around him, rather than merely “documenting” from a detached perspective, is also admirable. His narration is unfailingly enthusiastic and sincere. Stewart’s skill as a nature photographer and knowledge of marine biology are also of course huge assets to the film. He affords us a stunning glimpse into the deepest reaches of ocean biodiversity. One cannot help but feel awe when face to face with the otherworldly flamboyant cuttlefish, or the fingernail-sized pygmy seahorse.

Yet ultimately it is when the filmmaker lets others shine that he is most effective. A particularly inspiring scene shows a class of 6th grade students in the Northern Mariana Islands who, moved by Sharkwater, wrote to their government and helped get a bill passed to ban shark finning in the Commonwealth. These kids are passionate, smart, and, dare I say it, ready to change the world. Equally touching, though heartbreaking, is the coverage of the Canadian youth delegation to COP 16. Their persistent stunts to get the attention of their representatives are incredibly creative, astute, and moving. Yet they continually find themselves on the outside of closed doors and are eventually forced out of the convention. Their tears as they refuse to be silent while being forcibly led onto buses (they are counting out the number of climate-related deaths in 2010) betray the deep injustice of the situation.

While the film should serve as a rallying cry and an eye-opening introduction to or survey of these issues, I did find myself disappointed with where it ended. The film portrays very clearly the limits of climate activism; in addition to the UN youth delegation experience, we see power plant protesters being ignored, and hear repeatedly that business and government are simply not designed to be up to the task of saving the planet. Yet viewers are left with hardly any plausible alternatives on the table. We need to take back power and join the “revolution” – but how? There is a brief mention of Via Campesina and the Cochabamba Accord (Rights of Mother Earth) as possible models – this was the exception and I would have liked to see more of this.

In my view, Nnimmo Bassey gets it right when he sums up the problem towards the end of the film:

The world is being run on a basis of competition right now … but really what we should do is we are living well on this earth … And this is where the revolution starts. Changing the mindsets, changing the concepts, and realigning human beings to look at how we can work together.

Rob also asks:

What if we had a world to fight for, instead of fighting against our problems? What kind of a world could we create if we designed it to be beautiful for us and all species?

This kind of thinking is what is needed to make change when our governments and businesses won’t.

Stewart seems to be on a natural progression from Sharkwater to Revolution in getting to the core of the issue – perhaps the third film in this series could be how to bring about positive change, and the role of post growth, solidarity economy, and peer-to-peer movements in helping create that change!

Hearts & Minds: Sharing as a Mental Health Intervention

Sharing and collaboration opens up incredible opportunities for strengthening individual and community resilience. Those participating in or monitoring sharing activity know this, usually anecdotally. But what if we could measure the benefits to people and societies?

One of the biggest challenges for many societies in the 21st century is mental health. In addition to the incalculable human cost of pain, distress and heartbreak, it has also become a huge economic cost.

graphic of red heart holding hands with grey brain

A 2013 report on mental health expenditure in Australia reveals that over $28 billion is spent each year supporting people with a mental illness, including the activities that lie outside hospital services and community and public health services. The largest component is support for drug and alcohol abuse.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in five Australians aged 16-85 years had a mental disorder in 2007 and almost one in two (or 7.3 million people) had experienced a mental disorder at some point in their lives.

Internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that mental illnesses are the leading causes of disability worldwide, with depression alone accounting for one third of this. The estimated global cost of mental illness was nearly $2.5 trillion (two-thirds in indirect costs) in 2010, with a projected increase to over $6 trillion by 2030.

The entire global health spend in 2009 was $5.1 trillion.

The World Economic Forum report ‘The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases’ revealed that mental health issues are the single largest source of health care costs, more than cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer, or diabetes.

At the same time that demand for services is increasing, austerity measures are exerting downward pressure on budgets. Communities everywhere will need creative ways to address mental health, and the associated spiralling costs.

We know that higher levels of inequality are a cause of poor mental and physical health.

We know that social isolation is a cause of poor mental and physical health.

We know that our ability to live life well depends on what support systems are around if our life conditions are not ideal (eg. relationship breakdown, job loss, bereavement), and the resilience of both individuals and communities.

green leaf breaking through crack in concrete

Sharing is a proactive approach to supporting people experiencing tough times, and helping reduce social isolation without associated stigma, while simultaneously helping people meet each others’ needs. Through sharing, no one need be a recipient of charity, but all can be recognised and valued as a contributing participant in their community.

Mental health is a public health issue, yet the approach has typically been to work on the symptoms – responding to urgent situations of those at risk of harming themselves or others, helping people feel ‘less bad’, or ‘fixing’ the damage once it is done.

A preventative, systems-based approach of strengthening wellbeing would cause less trauma for individuals, their loved ones and communities, and could reduce demand for such support services.

I am not advocating defunding of mental health care. I am advocating sharing as a way to complement it, with a view to lessening the need for such services over time through building resilience.

Not all of what falls under the umbrella of ‘mental health’ can be address through sharing and building more resilient communities.

But some of it can.

In my home city of Adelaide, there is a newly established Wellbeing and Resilience Centre within the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). This international centre was launched in May 2014, following the residency of Professor Martin Seligman, who was a ‘Thinker in Residence’ in Adelaide in 2012-13 at the invitation of the South Australian government. Partners for this residency included a range of State and local government bodies, NGOs and tertiary institutions.

Seligman’s focus is positive psychology and his model of how wellbeing and resilience can be measured and taught through PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment).

‘Sharing’, in its true sense, aligns with PERMA:

Positive Emotion – because it starts from an ‘assets based’ approach (revealing and naming positive actions), sharing offers a different societal narrative from those which are so often the focus of politics and the media. Rather than articulating all that is ‘wrong’, which results in a focus on ‘problems’, and ‘solutions’ to ‘fix’ them, sharing begins by asking what are people doing that is already working, how can we invite more people into this space, and how can we replicate/support this activity? This aligns with the PERMA ethos of shifting the focus from ‘what is wrong?’ to ‘what is right?’ One technique for this is beginning any community initiative by asset-mapping.

Engagement – in unearthing and enabling discovery of existing sharing networks and activities, people can find and are able to connect into those networks. By identifying not just what is, but also people’s intent and interest in starting something, helping people find and connect and coalesce energy around ideas. Mapping, connecting and amplifying sharing initiatives helps people to see that they are part of something more than their local food swap or tool library – they are part of a citywide, nationwide and global movement.

screen shot of map of community sharing in Adelaide from ShareNSave

Relationships – by definition, sharing means connecting with others. For those whose close ties have been lost or are fractured for any reason (retirement, loss of partner, moving home, becoming a parent), becoming part of a community that does things together opens up a range of new possible relationships. In addition to helping people find and connect with sharing initiatives, relationships can also be built between initiatives.

Meaning – whether it involves repairing items destined for landfill, working shoulder to shoulder to build things that are donated to those in need, or growing produce to swap and share, these activities are things that people feel a sense of meaning and purpose in doing – which is why they are doing them, often in addition to/around paid work and family responsibilities. Almost without exception, sharing activity is about doing something for others in the community as well as for self-satisfaction. People are more likely to want to participate in an activity or program if they feel they are an effective contributor, rather than a recipient of assistance.

Accomplishment – sharing invites everyone to bring what they have to offer in terms of skills, passion and knowledge into a collaborative environment. No one is worthless or excluded. Open badges could be developed to identify who the community experts are in a given field for those in search of their know-how (eg. how to establish a verge garden), and attribute value and status to people who have developed knowledge and expertise that is not acknowledged by formal educational institutions. Like scouting badges, Open Badges communicate a skill or achievement but are displayed on the Internet. They contain comprehensive data including: who has earned the badge, its criteria, learning evidence and who has endorsed it. All this information is packaged within a tiny badge image file that can be displayed via online CVs and social networking sites.

The work of the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre is showing a way that wellbeing and resilience, via PERMA, can be measured and taught.

How can we develop a similar method to measure the impact of sharing on mental health, and how might we be able to quantify this, including in monetary terms? 

How can a community of interest, drawn from any place in the world, collaborate to:

  • design an effective framework for measuring the health costs offset by sharing initiatives, and show how sharing delivers positive benefits for mental health at the preventative stage?
  • determine how sharing projects that deliver mental health benefits could capture some of the value that is saved from a reduction in mental health costs to create an ongoing funding stream for preventative approaches ie. tying demonstrated reduction in expenditure to a percentage of the savings into replicating sharing activities
  • develop a meaningful suite of Open Badges to acknowledge what people give to their communities, and their associated skills and experience, which is unrecognised outside ‘formal’ educational qualifications

What could be achieved if like-minded people began an international collaborative project focused on how sharing benefits mental health, not just in terms of case studies, but in quantifiable economic terms?

Ultimately, what social, health, environmental and economic benefits would be realise if we designed our cities for sharing?

This article was originally posted at Share Adelaide.

Visions of a techno-leviathan: The politics of the Bitcoin blockchain

This article was originally published June 2014 by E-International Relations, accessed April 19th, 2015

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic 1993 sci-fi novel Red Mars, a pioneering group of scientists establish a colony on Mars. Some imagine it as a chance for a new life, run on entirely different principles from the chaotic Earth. Over time, though, the illusion is shattered as multinational corporations operating under the banner of governments move in, viewing Mars as nothing but an extension to business-as-usual.

It is a story that undoubtedly resonates with some members of the Bitcoin community. The vision of a free-floating digital cryptocurrency economy, divorced from the politics of colossal banks and aggressive governments, is under threat. Take, for example, the purists at Dark Wallet, accusing the Bitcoin Foundation of selling out to the regulators and the likes of the Winklevoss Twins.

Continue reading “Visions of a techno-leviathan: The politics of the Bitcoin blockchain”

What We’re Reading – March 2015

This is part of an ongoing series highlighting what our members are currently reading (and watching!) in the Post Growth and sustainability realms. 

This-Changes-Everything-Capitalism-vs.-The-ClimateThis Changes Everything – by Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, by well-known Canadian environmentalist and writer Naomi Klein, is the best book I’ve read in ages. This book doesn’t mess around. It bravely goes straight to the core.

In a style that is intensely readable and colloquial while also bursting with well-sourced facts, Klein tells us in no uncertain terms that the time left to avert climate-catastrophe is running out scarily fast. Because we’ve wasted decades faffing around at feeble UN conferences while emissions have soared, we’ve lost the luxury of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels with gentle but steady steps. Saving ourselves now will only be possible with a global response unprecedented in speed and scale, and pulling it off means breaking all the rules of the free-market bible.

A lot of mainstream environmental organisations shy away from admitting the major discrepancies between environmental sustainability and growth-crazed capitalism. They dare not place the two in conflict, presumably because they worry governments would choose the latter. They say that investing in the “green economy” will boost growth and jobs. Klein, on the other hand, boldly underlines that addressing the climate crisis before a tipping point is reached is not compatible with free-market capitalism.

For one thing, free trade rules in many places make it illegal for governments to enact bold climate action like banning oil extraction and ensuring local energy projects hire local people and use local materials. Worse, while climate scientists agree that most of known fossil fuels in reserves need to stay in the ground if we’re to have a hope of staying below two degrees of warming, corporations have already assured their investors that these reserves will be dug up and sold. Free-market, growth-orientated capitalism offers the companies no option other than to do everything in their power to get those fuels to market. To save ourselves, we will have to purposefully sink a huge part of the global economy, voluntarily passing up a multi-trillion cash boost. That is why it is now a stand-off: capitalism vs the climate.

Dealing with this crisis, according to Klein, will force us to rethink many assumptions that have been hegemonic since the Thatcher and Reagan era of the 80s. Like for instance, that private companies are always better at managing resources than the state, and community-management isn’t even an option. That trade is always good, no matter what is traded or where the money goes. That every problem is best solved by the market. That regulations are pretty much the devil incarnate. That people are mostly selfish, isolated and powerless. That the rich deserve their wealth and the poor deserve their poverty. That money is more important than anything else. That “there simply is no alternative.”

The climate crisis even gets at something much deeper than neoliberal theory. When properly acknowledged and acted upon, it uncovers a paradigm that has been entrenched for hundreds of years, which Klein calls extractivism. This is a world-view rooted in the age of colonialism, and yes, it is as ugly as it sounds. It’s the idea that there is always a wild frontier to push back. There are always more resources to take, plenty of space to spew rubbish, more land to expand into, and crucially –more people to exploit. This mindset is all about taking, without giving anything back. Extract, exploit, then move on and repeat. It’s this kind of ideological foundation which has allowed us to think using the sky as a rubbish dump is okay, infinite growth is possible, and gross inequality is just part of life.

All of those ideas need a swift revision.

The book also talks about inspiring coalitions of farmers, environmentalists and Indigenous tribes blocking new fossil fuel extractions, the divestment campaign, and the importance of moving from extractivism to a worldview based on a regenerative relationship with nature and each other. One where we take and we also give back.

But I don’t want to describe the whole book, I want you to read it! It really is brilliant. I read it in just three days, hardly pausing to do much else.

~

It’s capitalism vs the climate, and I know which side I’m on.

Do you?

Tegan Tallullah

From basic income to social dividends: sharing the value of common resources

Basic IncomeThis article previously appeared on Share the World’s Resources.

Few debates highlight the many complex issues around how governments should share a nation’s wealth and resources as much as the current discourse on basic income. Also referred to as a citizen’s income, the policy generally refers to the unconditional and universal payment of a regular sum of money to a country’s residents, usually as a replacement for a range of existing state benefits such as pensions, child allowances, tax credits and unemployment payments. Unlike many other policies that challenge the status quo, the scheme commands substantial support across the political spectrum – from progressives who hope it can reduce inequality and improve social justice, to neoliberals seeking to further diminish the role of the state in delivering a full range of welfare services. The idea also has a long historical precedent, with Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mills, Martin Luther King and Milton Friedman featuring among the numerous prominent figures who have supported the idea, in one form or another, since the late 1800s.[1]

More recently, financial and economic circumstances such as mounting unemployment rates, social and economic insecurity and unprecedented levels of inequality, have pushed the proposal back up the political agenda. A Swiss campaign for a citizen’s income gained enough support in 2013 to trigger a forthcoming referendum on instituting the policy, which could result in every citizen receiving the equivalent of $34,000 dollars every year. By January 2014, over 285,000 people had signed the European Citizens Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income, which sparked a much needed public debate on the pros and cons of the policy. With the UK’s Green Party also supporting the measure (despite concerns around how it could be funded) it’s clear that the conversation about how to implement and finance such a scheme is set to expand considerably in the years ahead.

At face value, the idea of receiving an unconditional lump sum of money from the state each week, month or year presents a fair and inclusive solution to the financial constraints many people face in a consumerist society – especially at a time when unemployment and inequality are on the rise. In addition, a basic income could give people the freedom to work fewer hours if they choose, while streamlining inefficient and complicated tax and benefits systems. In response to an escalating environmental crises that extends far beyond the popular discourse on global warming, the measure has also been proposed alongside other policies to pave the way towards a ‘steady state economy’ that is not predicated on endless growth.[2]

However, it is not at all clear whether a state administered citizen’s income would ultimately help or hinder the creation of truly sharing societies, in which ‘freedom from want’ can be achieved within a redistributive economic framework that reinforces the social ties that bind people and communities together. As discussed below, the policy could ultimately play into the hands of those whose idea of individual freedom includes minimising government programs and further deregulating markets, which would ultimately work against the ethic and practice of sharing. There are also important questions around how to fund a basic income that should be explored more fully, especially if the scheme is to be beneficial to citizens in developing countries or even implemented on an international scale to help end world poverty or protect the global commons.

Questioning the political context

A convincing case for an unconditional basic income has long been put forward on the basis of personal liberties and freedoms. As outlined in various international agreements, access to food, shelter, healthcare and a decent standard of living is a basic human right, together with economic security during retirement or when unable to work.[3] Since the state is the primary guarantor of these rights, it is reasonable to propose that an unconditional income is a viable route to securing these fundamental entitlements and achieving a degree of social security. In line with this perspective, Professor Guy Standing argues that basic security for all as an unconditional right is fundamental to securing personal freedom, especially at a time when a new ‘precariat’ class of disaffiliated migrants and temporary workers suffer from systemic insecurity across the globe – largely as a consequence of economic globalisation.[4]

This idea that a basic income can increase freedom by enabling people to work less and devote themselves to more creative pursuits or unpaid work in the ‘core economy’ has a common sense appeal, particularly when job insecurity is on the rise and people are increasingly questioning how to balance their work-life commitments. In his book Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein sets out a convincing case for creating the conditions in which people can pursue work that doesn’t necessarily generate a return, as this will give us the freedom to act on the desire to give freely without financial incentives.[5] Philippe Van Parijs takes a similar perspective on basic income as a route to freedom, arguing that in order to be truly free, people need to have access to the means needed for “doing what they might want to do”.[6] These are convincing philosophical arguments that add further credence to the premise that a citizen’s income would promote equality and social integration, as everyone would receive an equal level of state benefits regardless of their personal circumstances.

However, there are several reasons why the issues of rights, freedom and equality need to be considered from a broader perspective, especially by those who are troubled by the encroachment of neoliberal ideology in policymaking. For example, the New Economics Foundation emphasise a key ideological difference between benefit systems based on social insurance and the provision of a guaranteed basic income for all. As they explain, a basic income is “an individualised measure, not a collective one, focusing resources on providing everyone with an income at all times rather than on pooled risk-sharing mechanisms which provide help for everyone when they need it. This may reduce people’s capacity to act together, by encouraging them to provide for themselves with their income rather than promoting social solidarity, collectively funded services, and shared solutions.”[7]

Given the huge costs associated with providing citizens with an unconditional state income, we should also be concerned that the scheme could compete for funding with other government funded services, such as healthcare, education, childcare support and social housing. Together, comprehensive welfare services such as these ensure that certain basic needs can be universally met without having to rely on commercial alternatives. Rather than implementing new basic income schemes, the aim should perhaps be to scale up social protection along the lines of a proposal by Barbara Bergmann, who recommends that a universal basic income is only considered after a well-funded ‘Swedish-style’ welfare state has first been established. This would include, for example, far more generous allowances for children, pensioners, the unemployed, and those with a disability, or even more generous work leave policies and free university education.[8]

Under the current trajectory of public policy in which welfare services are being subjected to increasing waves of neoliberal reforms, there is clearly a risk that existing mechanisms of redistribution and social solidarity could be severely undermined if replaced by a basic income. Introducing the scheme during a period when welfare services are being dismantled by economic austerity could mean that individuals would be left to pay for essential services at market rates instead, which could of course fluctuate substantially over time and weaken the monetary value of the basic income. Although this approach might appeal to those who favour freedom and personal choice, the individualistic nature of a citizen’s income is also the reason why many free marketeers favour the measure as an alternative to state funded social services. For these reasons, it is prudent to be wary of any attempt to implement the scheme within a political context characterised by laissez-faire capitalism.

The coming era of leisure

In 1930, John Maynard Keynes famously posited that standards of living would be between four and eight times higher in a hundred years’ time, and that people would need to work a mere 15 hours a weeks.[9] Although Keynes’ era of leisure is still a pipedream for most people despite the tremendous improvements in living standards he rightly predicted, there is evidence to suggest that formal working hours will have to be dramatically reduced in the years ahead. The reductions in wages that would follow such a dramatic shift in employment patterns provides a pragmatic case for the state to provide a supplementary unearned income to all citizens. There can be little doubt that patterns of work are already going through a dramatic transformation: robotic automation, digitalisation, the internet and other technological developments are responsible for significantly reducing the availability of jobs. Much of what is produced is now shared for free – including software, journalism, film, information and music. Although corporate profits are at an all-time high, demand for labour is falling and wages as a share of GDP have been in decline for the past three decades in the UK and the US. People are also living longer and retiring later, while part-time or temporary work, insecure casual contracts, and self-employment are increasingly the norm for those who find themselves precariously underemployed.

As people in developed countries adjust to an economic reality in which there is much less available work, reducing the length of the formal working week might be unavoidable. Since it is unlikely that wages would increase proportionately as we work less, an additional form of income could be necessary in order to prevent millions more people falling below the poverty line. A citizen’s income would also acknowledge and help sustain the indispensable unpaid work that currently takes place in the core economy, including raising children and caring for the elderly, maintaining community relationships and support networks, as well as the various voluntary services provided by individuals and civil society organisations. Paying a basic income to facilitate a shift towards fewer formal working hours or to support the core economy would strengthen interpersonal sharing and reciprocity within communities, and it could mean that people would no longer be forced to do menial or difficult jobs that they would otherwise undertake reluctantly for fear of survival.

Of all the arguments for a universal income scheme, this one is perhaps the most convincing – especially since there is evidence to suggest that working less and sharing available work more equitably across society would have a range of additional benefits, such as reducing levels of consumption and markedly improving quality of life.[10] However, the overall impact that the policy could have on the labour market is far from clear cut. For example, there is the claim that a citizen’s income could be a disincentive for workers, which might be especially problematic in relation to necessary but menial tasks that workers would avoid if they had an alternative source of income.

Putting aside these disputed concerns, the main impact of a citizen’s income on jobs would be to deregulate employment laws. In other words, employers would have little obligation to pay a living wage if governments are already supplementing incomes, and workers would be more prepared to leave their jobs as unemployment would no longer be such a concern for them. Francine Mestrum convincingly argues that the policy would effectively shift labour costs that are currently borne by companies to society as a whole. A basic income could therefore become a subsidy to employers who would no longer feel obliged to pay decent wages or provide adequate benefits to their employees.[11] As such, it is possible that a citizen’s income could be particularly problematic in developing countries that are working towards enhancing working conditions and employment rights.

Streamlining the benefits system

The most practical reason for introducing a citizen’s income is to overhaul and simplify complex means tested benefit systems that are failing their targeted claimants. According to a number of basic income proposals, a new agency could not only provide a standardised benefit but also coordinate a simplified income tax system in order to help recoup costs associated with the scheme. In the UK, for example, a single weekly payment could replace child allowances and the state pension, while eliminating the need for various tax allowances, credits and reliefs. The aim would be to integrate the tax and benefits system and treat everybody in the same way rather than have different rules for claimants and tax payers.[12]

Apart from the obvious financial savings that streamlining the benefit systems would generate, a single universal payment to all citizens would address a range of issues that currently plague welfare services across the world. These include abolishing complex administrative procedures associated with testing the eligibility of claimants, as well as preventing the ‘benefit trap’. Means testing is also widely regarded as a demeaning and socially divisive process that can leave claimants feeling stigmatised or branded as scroungers or even cheats. Many people aren’t even aware of their entitlement to benefits, or they can be confused by the eligibility rules and put off by the possibility of receiving increasingly harsh ‘benefit sanctions’. With almost a third of people not claiming the state payments they are entitled to in the UK alone (amounting to around £10 billion of unclaimed aid a year), it is fair to conclude that means testing is simply not providing the economic security it was designed to deliver.[13]

Despite these unequivocal arguments for redesigning and simplifying state benefits, the big hurdle for implementing a citizen’s income is the problem of cost as the scheme appears unaffordable when translated into concrete figures. The income would need to be high enough to ensure that those who are no longer able to claim most other state benefits could survive above the national poverty line, and this same amount of money would need to be provided to every citizen regardless of their financial circumstances. Even though this would be a huge financial commitment for cash-strapped governments, the UK’s Citizen’s Income Trust have detailed how a basic income scheme can be designed to be ‘revenue and cost neutral’, even though they recently conceded that an unacceptable proportion of poor households would lose out under their proposal.[14] Research suggests that even a revised scheme that reduces any negative impacts would not be sufficient by itself to keep households above the relative income poverty line.[15] Although such a scheme might be more politically palatable, it would also defeat the objective of simplifying the benefits system as a number of means tested allowances would still be necessary.

The great tax shift

Unless alternative means are found to fund a basic income, a truly comprehensive scheme for sharing a nation’s financial resources is likely to remain unaffordable, while a less costly version may not provide a worthwhile alternative to existing benefits. But if funding is the primary issue, why not link the policy to wider reforms for how governments raise public revenue? Campaigners in countries across the world have long advocated for numerous ways in which states could raise huge quantities of additional income for urgent social and environmental purposes, such as implementing higher taxes on extreme wealth and very high incomes, closing tax havens, ending corporate tax avoidance or implementing a financial transaction tax. Alternatively, governments could divert a percentage of their colossal military budgets, or withdraw a proportion of the vast subsidies currently paid to agribusiness and the fossil fuel industry.[16] Similarly, new levies on environmental ‘bads’, such as pollution or waste disposal, could help raise revenues while providing a disincentive to ecologically destructive activities.

While countless civil society campaigns continue to focus on these and other redistributive proposals, a number of even more radical approaches to reforming the way governments raise public revenue are also being more widely discussed by progressives. For example, may proponents of systemic tax reform argue that levies on earnings, employment and profits disproportionately impact those already on low incomes, while encouraging environmentally damaging activities, and penalising the contributions that people and companies make to society. Land value taxation is widely regarded as a logical and fairer alternative to existing methods of raising revenue and, like basic income, it has considerable support among both progressives and conservatives. In accordance with the need to dramatically reform both fiscal and benefit systems, James Robertson has proposed a new social compact in which land value taxation would play a central role in funding a citizen’s income.[17] Robertson’s proposal illustrates the possibility of funding a more comprehensive basic income scheme that would also enable governments to take decisive steps towards creating a more just and sustainable economy. Nonetheless, the political will to pursue these widely supported measures remains conspicuously absent, which points to the need for a more visible public debate about the various means governments can employ to pool and share a nation’s financial resources.

Social dividends from shared resources

In light of the inherent difficulties connected to reforming established tax and benefit systems, it is also worth considering alternative options for establishing a citizen’s income that could have much wider implications for creating a sharing society. Although this approach is rarely part of the popular discourse on implementing a basic income scheme, there are a growing number of proposals for instituting a ‘social dividend’ that is based firmly on the principle of sharing as it recognises that all citizens have a right to income from ‘natural property’, such as land and other resources that are either inherited or co-created by society. The idea can be traced back to the work of the American revolutionary Thomas Paine, who stated that “the earth, in its natural, cultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race”.[18] The notion that the earth is our common inheritance was also central to the ideas of the social theorist Henry George in the 19th century, and still maintains strong support among Georgists as well as commons theorists.[19]

As explained by Peter Barnes in his book ‘With Liberty and Dividends for All’, the majority of the wealth that is inherited or created together by society is captured and extracted by the rich rather than distributed fairly among citizens. Meanwhile, the damaging social and environmental costs of this process are largely borne by the public or the biosphere. The simple idea at the heart of most proposals for a social dividend is therefore to charge user fees on shared resources, which can then be distributed to all citizens as a basic right. Although an agency would initially be set up by governments to administer the program, it would operate independently of the private and public sector as a ‘commons trust’ that could conceivably manage a range of shared resources – from land, fossil fuels and atmospheric carbon storage, to the electromagnetic spectrum and intellectual property. According to a calculation by Barnes based only on a specific selection of shared assets, the programme could provide every American citizen with as much as $5,000 a year.[20]

Given the various problems associated with existing basic income schemes, not least of which is funding, issuing social dividends from user fees on shared resources could be a sensible alternative to the tax-funded benefit programs considered above. The social dividend approach would address a number of the concerns that drive proponents of a citizen’s income, such as providing a non-labour supplement to falling wages and incomes, or reducing social and economic exclusion. Moreover, sharing the value of co-owned resources in this way would not necessarily interfere with existing systems of welfare and social protection, which could still be reformed independently to address some of the failings highlighted previously.

Barnes also reminds us that while the idea of reforming tax systems remains problematic and contentious, distributing income from user fees appeals to both liberals and conservatives. The programme could be set up as a self-financing commons trust that operates outside of the public and private sector, and managing the fund would neither inflate nor deflate the size of government. Like taxes, user fees on ecologically damaging activities would also provide a disincentive to both producers and consumers, effectively internalising environmental costs into the price of products. Additionally, a social dividend would be an effective way to integrate the principle of sharing into the way nations govern the use of co-owned assets, as it gives form to the notion that natural resources should be managed in the interests of all people and future generations – which is clearly a prerequisite to creating a more equal and sustainable world in the 21st century.

From national to global dividends

Sharing the value of co-owned resources is not just a theoretical premise; the practice has long existed in Alaska where 25 percent of all mineral lease rentals, royalties, bonuses and other payments received by the state are placed into a permanent fund that is currently worth over $53 billion.[21] The fund was initially set up by the government of Alaska in 1976 and is now managed on behalf of its citizens who receive an annual dividend from the income it generates, which amounted to $1,884 in 2014. Unsurprisingly, the fund is popular with residents and acts as a crucial economic stimulus, while being transparent and cost effective to manage. Moreover, in stark contrast to when the fund was first established, Alaska now has one of the lowest rates of inequality and relatively low levels of poverty compared to other US states. For these reasons, the Alaska Permanent Fund provides a unique example of the benefits of sharing resource dividends directly with citizens, and is regularly referred to by campaigners working on a wide range of progressive causes.

The Alaskan model also has important applications for low income countries, particularly those that struggle to reduce extreme poverty or are afflicted by the ‘resource curse’ – the paradox of countries being rich in mineral wealth but unable to achieve sustained economic development. For example, the economist Paul Segal argues that governments in developing countries should distribute rents due on their natural resources directly to all citizens as an unconditional cash transfer.[22] Such a program would provide incentives for people to register with the fiscal system, strengthen state capacity, help ameliorate the institutional causes of the resource curse, and reduce corruption. Sharing the value of resources in this way would be entirely in accordance with universally adopted human rights covenants which state that “All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources”.[23] Most importantly, Segal highlights the considerable impact that a social dividend derived from resource rents could have on extreme levels of human deprivation. According to his calculations, this measure alone could halve global poverty if implemented internationally by all developing countries, and he concludes that the scheme “would be easier to implement than most existing social policies”.[24]

This same model could also be applied to fund basic income schemes in developed countries that have sizable reserves of oil, gas and other industrial minerals, such as the US. As Segal notes, prior to the systematic privatisations that characterised the 1980s, just such a proposal for ‘A People’s Stake in North Sea Oil’ was floated in the UK by Samuel Brittan and Barry Riley. More recently, economists have proposed similar models for a basic income funded by resource revenues for Nigeria, Iraq and Bolivia. According to a study by World Bank economists, a universal basic income in the form of a ‘direct dividend payment’ derived from just 10 percent of national oil revenues would be sufficient to close the poverty gap in Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, and could half the poverty gap in larger countries such as Mozambique and Nigeria. The report’s authors explain how it would also be possible for a proportion of these revenues to be used by governments to fund public goods, which could further help reduce poverty and enhance social welfare.[25]

The discourse on how to fairly distribute the value of a nation’s co-owned resources is critical, especially in relation to creating effective sharing societies without poverty or extreme inequality. But the process of deriving social dividends from shared resources need not be confined to the nation state, and could even be used to fulfil the entitlement of every human being to a fair share of the global commons. For example, Alanna Hartzok outlines how a Global Resource Agency could feasibly collect resource rents from the exploitation of shared resources such as ocean fisheries, the sea bed, the electromagnetic spectrum, and even outer space.[26] The resulting fund could be further bolstered through levies on activities that damage the commons, including carbon emissions and other forms of pollution to the oceans and atmosphere. In a globalised economy characterised by a vast array of economic processes that fall outside the jurisdiction of national territories, such a mechanism could clearly be an indispensable source of finance for underfunded global governance bodies such as the United Nations and its affiliated agencies. The finances raised could also support the provision of global public goods or help meet other international priorities such as providing disaster relief, ending hunger or mitigating climate change. Furthermore, this international model of economic sharing could also distribute a proportion of the revenues generated as a global citizen’s income based on an equal share of the value of global resources. Since rich countries are responsible for the vast majority of resource consumption and pollution, an international citizen’s income raised through user fees on the global commons could also amount to a sizable redistribution of wealth in favour of citizens in the Global South.[27]

Another international route to raising the finance needed to eradicate extreme poverty is suggested by Professor Thomas Pogge, who proposes that all human beings should be recognised as having an inalienable stake in the world’s natural resources and that they should therefore be entitled to a share of the value of any natural resource (such as crude oil) regardless of where it is extracted.[28] He calls this share a Global Resource Dividend (GRD) and proposes that it is fixed at 1% of gross world product, which currently comes to $780 billion per annum.[29] Pogge suggests that it would make sense to differentiate between natural resources by collecting larger shares for those that are most damaging to the environment (like coal). In this way, he argues that the GRD could help avert ecological harm while enabling the world’s poor to share in global economic growth and reduce their financial disadvantage. Pogge’s original proposal does not constitute a universal citizen’s income, as it selectively targets the dividend to provide those living in extreme poverty with up to $250 a year. According to his calculations, however, if the GRD was used to create a truly universal basic income “the poorer half would still get an income boost of over 20% on average … The income of the poorest quarter would go from currently 0.9% of gross world product to 1.15%, a tidy 28% raise.”[30] There can be little doubt that a global citizen’s income financed through resource dividends would have a transformative impact on those who live below the global poverty line, and could even be considered as an adjunct or alternative to conventional development assistance.

Expanding the public debate on basic income

If the ultimate intention of a citizen’s income is to secure the basic right of all people to live in dignity and fully develop their capabilities, it is clearly in relation to the very poorest in society (and across the world as a whole) that any form of basic income would be most beneficial. In this respect, the evidence suggests that a citizen’s income based on resource dividends presents an important systemic solution to poverty that has the potential to counterbalance the injustice of a global economic model in which wealth predominantly flows to the richest 1% of the world’s population. The policy also has significant ecological implications in relation to the emerging ‘degrowth’ debate on the impossibility of pursuing endless economic growth without irreversibly harming the environment.[31] In line with this perspective on the limits to growth, resource dividends for all could facilitate the necessary shift away from unsustainable patterns of production and consumerism, and stimulate a much needed public debate on the nature and purpose of work.

There are clearly many convincing arguments for how a citizen’s income based on resource rents could play a pivotal role in establishing a truly sharing society in which the fulfilment of people’s basic rights are not limited to their capacity to earn wages. However, it should also be apparent that any form of basic income or social dividend is not a panacea and should only be implemented as part of a comprehensive program of progressive reforms. As Share The World’s Resources emphasises, the objective of public policy should be to establish systemic forms of sharing that decentralise and devolve political power and embody the fundamental right of all people to a fair share of the wealth and resources that are created by nature or society as a whole.[32] Thus unless any basic income scheme is implemented as part of a broader policy agenda to address the structural causes of inequality and environmental crises, its longer term benefits would remain questionable.

Although there is growing support for social dividends funded by user fees, any call for reforming the way collective resources are managed is unlikely to gain political traction at a time when the institutions of central government increasingly embody market principles, and proposals for radically restructuring economic systems are still generally outside of mainstream political debates. Furthermore, it is difficult to overstate the power and influence that fossil fuel corporations could wield over policymakers who are considering setting aside a proportion of co-owned wealth for the benefit of citizens, especially in resource rich countries where user fees would have a negative impact on corporate profits.[33] Clearly, if resource dividend schemes are to be implemented more extensively, it would be necessary to challenge the neoliberal consensus that currently dominates public policy at the governmental level as well as in global institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

But despite the expected resistance from those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, it is reasonable to assume that policies seeking to share the value of common pool resources would be extremely popular with voters, especially if they were more closely linked to existing calls for a citizen’s income. If the proposition also had more support from within civil society and among progressive parties, there is every chance that such policies could rapidly move up the political agenda. As the media continues to highlight basic income schemes with increasing frequency, there has never been a better time to broaden the public debate to include alternative ways to fund the proposal – particularly if this draws attention to systemic methods of supplementing personal incomes through policies based on redistributive justice and the principle of sharing.


[1] For an historical perspective on an unconditional basic income, see www.basicincome.org/basic-income/history#sthash.CuAe89DF.dpuf

[2] See for example, Clive Lord, Citizens’ Income and Green Economics, The Green Economics Institute, 2011.

[3] For example, see Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

[4] Guy Standing, The Precariat: A New Dangerous Class, Bloomsbury, 2014.

[5] Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition, Evolver Editions, 2011, see Chapter 14.

[6] Philippe Van Parijs, Real Freedom For All, Clarendon Press, 1995.

[7] New Economics Foundation, People, planet, power: towards a new social settlement, February 2015.

[8] Bruce Ackerman, Anne Alstott and Philippe Van Parij, Redesigning Distribution: basic income and stakeholder grants as alternative cornerstones for a more egalitarian capitalism, 2003, see Chapter 7 by Barbara Bergmann.

[9] John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Persuasion, 1930. See Part V, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.

[10] New Economics Foundation, 21 hours, February 2010.

[11] Francine Mestrum, Social Protection and Basic income: competitors or allies?, July 2014.

[12] Citizen’s Income Trust, Citizen’s Income: A brief introduction, 2013.

[13] Dan Finn and Jo Goodship, Take-up of benefits and poverty: an evidence and policy review, Inclusion / Joseph Rowntree Foundation, July 2014.

[14] In 2013, the UK’s Citizen’s Income Trust (ibid.) estimated in the total cost for a basic income at £276 billion per annum, which it suggests is the same as the cost of benefits, tax reliefs and allowances in 2012-2013. According to their illustration, most adults would receive £71 per week, while younger people would be due less and pensioners would receive twice as much.

[15] Malcolm Torry, Research note: a feasible way to implement a Citizen’s Income, Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), September 2014.

[16] For an example of how governments could raise funding for progressive causes, see Share The World’s Resources, Financing the global sharing economy, October 2012.

[17] James Robertson, Beyond The Dependency Culture: People, Power And Responsibility, Adamantine Press, 1998.

[18] Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice, 1795.

[19] See for example the Henry George Institute; The Institute for Economic Democracy; and the collection of essays in The Wealth of the Commons, edited by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, Levellers Press, 2013 .

[20] Peter Barnes, With Liberty and Dividends for All, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2014.

[21] For more information about the Alaska Permanent Fund and its history, visit www.apfc.org

[22] Paul Segal, Resource Rents, Redistribution, and Halving Global Poverty: The Resource Dividend, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, June 2009.

[23] See the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 1.

[24] Paul Segal, op cit.

[25] Shantayanan Devarajan, Marcelo Giugale et al., The Case for Direct Transfers of Resource Revenues in Africa, Centre for Global Development working paper 333, July 2013.

[26] Alanna Hartzog, The Earth Belongs to Everyone, The Institute for Economic Democracy, 2008. See chapter 9 p. 127, chapter 14 p. 172, and chapter 30 p. 334.

[27] For more information on a global citizen’s income, see James Robertson, Sharing the Value of Common Resources: Citizen’s Income in a Wider Context, 2009.

[28] Thomas Pogge, Eradicating Systemic Poverty: brief for a global resources dividend, Journal of Human Development, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2001.

[29] This figure was provided in an email from Professor Pogge on 21st March 2015, in which he also explains that “The poorer 1/2 of humanity now have about 4% of global household income or about 2.4% of the gross world product. Getting this extra 1 percent of the world’s social product to them would raise their average income by over 40% (from 2.4% to 3.4%). This would clearly be highly significant.”

[30] Quote provided in an email from Professor Pogge, ibid.

[31] Giorgos Kallis, The Degrowth Alternative, Great Transition Initiative, February 2015.

[30] Share The World’s Resources, A primer on global economic sharing, June 2014.

[31] Transnational Institute, State of Power 2014: Exposing the Davos Class, January 2014.


Image credit: Christopher Andrews – flikr creative commons

Beyond the market-state: decentralising power in a sharing society

Occupy Wall Street Protest At a time when governments are failing abysmally to mitigate climate change, reduce inequality or end poverty, the key to creating a more equal and sustainable world is establishing participative forms of political engagement at all levels of society – from the local to the global.

In an era of politics characterised by unconstrained corporate lobbying, a well-oiled ‘revolving door’ between industry and government, and an endless stream of campaign contributions from dirty oil and other lucrative industries, is the long-championed ideal of a truly democratic state now a lost cause? Should concerned citizens and activists turn their attention instead to establishing sustainable economic alternatives within their towns and communities? Or should we all be doing much more to ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”, as Abraham Lincoln once avowed?
Continue reading “Beyond the market-state: decentralising power in a sharing society”

Labour and Nature: Power in Numbers

Solar Panel Installation “Good jobs! Clean environment! Green economy!”

That is the rallying cry of the BlueGreen Alliance, an impressive coalition of environmental organisations and labour unions in the US, with over 15 million members. Their existence is part of a growing synthesis between the labour and environmental movements, which is based around two core ideas: 1), that building a sustainable society has the potential to create millions of decent ‘’green-collar’’ jobs, and 2), that the effects and even the mitigations of climate change will have serious impacts for workers and will hit the poorest hardest, unless they have a voice in the debate, ensuring their right to a ‘’just transition”.  Continue reading “Labour and Nature: Power in Numbers”