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Fri Dec 26, 2014, 01:39 PM

 

NAOMI KLEIN INTERVIEW: "A 3-DAY WEEK WILL HELP TO SAVE LIFE ON EARTH"

snip// When did you begin to think free-market economics are a threat to life on Earth?

When I started hanging around with climate change deniers, it became clear they understood the current economic system could not survive if climate change was real. You canít hold on to ideas like freedom from regulation and liberating profit in the face of a crisis like climate change, which clearly demands collective action and strong regulation. We need to cut our emissions so deeply that it threatens the whole growth model of free-market capitalism. //snip

http://www.bigissue.com/features/interviews/4487/naomi-klein-interview-a-3-day-week-will-help-to-save-life-on-earth


What could it hurt to try?

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Response to sgtbenobo (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:05 PM

1. Three Words: Puritan Work Ethic

It's in the blood (or subconscious mind, more accurately) of Americans, seemingly:

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/business-economics/protestant-worth-ethic-real-65544/

If people worked or needed to work less, there wouldn't be a shortage of jobs.

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Response to sgtbenobo (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:12 PM

2. Shorter work week would help almost every social ill. n/t

 

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Response to sgtbenobo (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:23 PM

3. Shorter work for shorter dollars...

aren't we almost a part-time job society now according to some. 21hrs a week wouldn't pay the taxes & food.

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:41 PM

4. You are correct. IF we were to move to a 3-day work week there would have to be some form of

guaranteed income system so that the economic divide does not get any worse. So that the 99% would have food, housing, clothes and medical care. I do not see that happening without one hell of a fight. But on the other hand as climate change becomes more apparent in the future things will have to change.

When I say have to change a vision of Africa comes to mind and I wonder just how bad things would need to get in the US before change could happen. Starvation, disease, lack of education, etc. has been accepted as the norm for the people of Africa for many years. The world talks about fixing it once or twice a year and then goes home with little settled.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:52 PM

5. The 1% have benefited immeasurably from the advent of manufacturing technologies.

 

Perhaps it's time that robots and 3d printers start working for the rest of us too.


Maybe even clean up an ocean or two in the process.

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Response to sgtbenobo (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:07 PM

6. The free market will be less free in the future, but we are still going to have capitalism

for a very long time.

People in business know that you can't have endless economic growth and endless fossil fuel consumption. It is becoming more necessary by the day to move to alternative energy sources and to decrease CO2 emissions, and it is starting to happen. However, wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars are not going to spell the end of capitalism. Our market will be more regulated in the future, but none of us will live to see socialism here.

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Response to sgtbenobo (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:11 PM

7. I disagree that growth models per se are threatened by climate change.

Merely that the currently dominant growth model is threatened - one based on extraction of scarce, non-renewable, geographically isolated fuel sources. This model is ideal for concentration of political power, so its overthrow will have vast implications for the ruthless.

A renewable, abundant, non-polluting, and decentralized energy economy cannot be cornered except in the most temporary and easily-circumvented ways. That means the Middle Eastern monarchies and sheikdoms lose most of their power, and remain influential only as consumers and investors from their accumulated wealth. It also means that Russia loses nearly all of its economic power, and that the influence of Texas within the United States would be diminished.

But Klein is correct that absolute laissez-faire capitalism threatens human civilization, since it has gone so far as to commoditize facts such that insane Orwellian propaganda denying scientific facts is pursued as a legitimate business interest.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:42 PM

9. Growth is threatened by climate change because renewable energy can't replace fossil fuel.

Where are you going to source plastics and synthetic fibres and pesticides and chemical feedstock?

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 05:47 PM

10. Not only can it replace fossil fuel, it will outstrip it beyond all imagining.

Plastics, synthetic fibers, chemical feedstocks....dude, you're just talking about hydrocarbons. Assembling hydrocarbons requires only three things: Hydrogen, carbon, and energy. If energy is cheap and inexhaustible, the rest is trivia: Carbon from the ground and the atmosphere, hydrogen from water.

The only reason we depend on fossil fuels for these products right now is because they're our energy source, and they're so expensive and relatively scarce that using them to power artificial synthesis of these compounds would be uneconomical. Renewables and some of their attendant energy storage technologies are on Moore's Law cost-decline curves (linear cost-decline curves at the worst), so not only will it be cheaper to just synthesize plastic from carbon and hydrogen than to spend trillions of dollars on increasingly baroque drilling technologies, it will be cheaper than at any time in history.

Granted, there will be an adjustment period between the collapse of oil infrastructure and the rise of renewables' ability to drive chemical synthesis infrastructure. During that period I expect that partial alternatives will be found - metals will be used more often as a general material than plastics, reversing the decades'-long trend temporarily, etc.

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Response to sgtbenobo (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:40 PM

8. It's a lovely idea, and back in the late '50s and early '60s

 

it was commonly understood that we were moving in that direction, thanks to something called automation. Never happened. Unfortunately.

More unfortunately, even if we overlook the problem of minimum wage and the above-minimum-but-still-not-enough wages for lots of jobs, I have a hard time imagining lawyers and stockbrokers, just to name two groups, cutting their work hours so drastically. Or teachers, although that could happen by hiring more teachers so that none of them need to spend quite so much time in the classroom, and to make their prep time paid.

Personally, I've never been enamored of the 40 hour week, and even though I worked my share of overtime, I was always an hourly employee so I was always paid for my time.

There needs to be a huge change in how people think about work, and about the balance of work and the rest of their life, for us to have any hope to even move in this direction.

However, we did do something similar during the Great Depression, when we moved from a standard 60 hour work week, to a standard 40 hour one, and employers across every type of job, were astonished to discover their employees were more productive in 40 hours than they had been in 60. Who knew? Something similar would probably happen if we cut the standard work week to 30 hours.

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