Study on how Working Less Might Slow ‘Climate Change’ Ignores Underlying Radical ‘De-Growth’ Agenda — Promotes ‘downscaling of production & consumption’ — ‘the contraction of economies’

By: - Climate DepotFebruary 6, 2013 8:22 AM


The US News reporter correctly characterizes the source, the Center for Economic Policy and Research, as “a liberal think tank based in Washington.” In his recent CEPR paper (“Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change”; landing page; full PDF), CEPR economist David Rosnick primarily referenced the contents of two previous papers, one of which he co-authored, as seen in this Executive Summary excerpt:

Knight’s actual study is much more hostile to economic growth and its engine known as capitalism than its abstract would lead us to believe. Here are just a few choice sentences (translations follow):

… the logic of (economic) growth is at the core of unsustainability and climate change, and rejection of the view that technological change will be sufficient to solve those problems within the time frame of feasible action. [1]

De-growth involves a socially sustainable process of downshifting material throughput (in contrast to involuntary downshifts such as recessions) which relies on policies such as egalitarian income distribution and tax shifting, low hours of work, and high political involvement. It is utopian, and post-capitalist. In both its versions—radical (advocating a new sector of cooperatives, green enterprises, and localization) and reformist (relying mainly on policy transformation), reduced working hours is at the core of the de-growth agenda. [2]

… the extra happiness accruing from free time is not positional, like income, so that its benefits are durable. This suggests a … potential household level effect in which time affluence reduces consumption desire and environmental impact. If people who have more time are happier, this may reduce their spending. …

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