‘We are destroying the world. So let's work a lot less to start with'

‘We are destroying the world. So let’s work a lot less to start with’

‘The Great Resignation’ is what has been called the mass layoffs sweeping the United States. In September alone, 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs. This is partly because they want to work as a self-employed person, but also because they take advantage of the shortage on the labor market to work elsewhere under better conditions.

Those better conditions do not necessarily mean a higher wage, but can also simply mean more respect or less agitation. It is a way of protesting the system that you could safely call the new strike. It is still unclear whether the trend will also spread to our country, although we do hear signals in that direction here and there.

In any case, there is increasing dissatisfaction with us. It will not only have to do with work, but no one can ignore the mounting tensions and the hallucinatingly high divorce, addiction and suicide rates in recent years. Starting in 2017, a group of people with different backgrounds probed the causes of all these personal crises. On 30 November 2019, this led to a real statement with outlines for a society in which people bear common responsibility, in which economic growth is no longer the Valhalla and in which progress, productivity and labor rediscover their emancipatory meaning. That statement has now been signed by 200 organizations and individual citizens.

However, the number of personal crises has not decreased in the least since then. Quite the contrary. Little seems to have been learned from the forced standstill due to the lockdowns. The rat race that hurts so many people still seems to be the highest good for many. Replacing all cars with electric ones will not essentially solve the problems. In our view, there is no need for changes within the existing system, but for a radical system change. For example, by removing domains of common interest from the free market and by having the government ensure a fair distribution of the earth’s wealth.

Without that fundamental turnaround, it will continue to fumble in the margins and the social and economic train will continue to rumble at high speed in the direction of a ravine. A coherent value framework and a solid image of society are of the utmost importance in order to put switches on the rails.

That may be less utopian than many think. Here and there we see evidence that things can be done differently. The new generation in the West now entering the labor market sees work differently than the baby boomers. It puts values ​​such as education and taking time for each other ahead of the growth of the savings account. A shorter working week and a basic income no longer seem like a utopia. French IT company LDLC was able to give its 800 employees a raise after the four-day work week was introduced.

To slow down

In the debates that the Declaration of 30 November organized together with the Humanist Association and Re-story about the long-term sick, energy and the economy, the feeling arose that the spiral about economic thinking is gradually ready to turn in a different direction.

In the direction of a society in which people put less pressure on each other and give each other time to deal with the valuable things in life. Slowing down and, like during the lockdowns, working less, just letting the essential economy run, leads to shorter traffic jams, to people coming to their senses and not needing burnout coaches. In short, to a more livable society.

Because we are destroying the world, the solution starts with less work. And what about the economy? Won’t it collapse? Yes of course! The economy as we see it now and as we think it should function will indeed collapse. But in the end that only proves that it is a story in which we should no longer believe.

One thing is now crystal clear: if the economy is doing well according to current definitions, it will be bad for many people and for the earth. We continue to think along the same lines with climate neutral and ‘green’ growth. So why couldn’t we believe in a new story? In a story with more time to enjoy. More time to develop ourselves. More time for each other. Wouldn’t that perspective take a lot of tension off our shoulders?

Can we achieve that? Why not with a global double economic ‘Ramadan’. A ban on non-essential activities for two months a year. Two months a year that we give the earth and each other rest. Two months a year that redistribution takes precedence over growth. After all, that’s not so new either. All religions and cultures realize the importance of rest. In southern countries, it even took the form of a daily siesta in earlier days. Slowing down and stopping in time to think would do everyone good. Even entrepreneurs, who are now complaining about employees dropping out – in all sorts of ways – could be interested in this.

‘We are destroying the world. So let’s work a lot less to start with’
Source link ‘We are destroying the world. So let’s work a lot less to start with’

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