"the parameters of a post-growth welfare regime might be expected to include a new social compact between ‘mutualized’ capital and partially de-commodified labour along with a greater role for bottom-up, communitarian forms of welfare provision. It is more likely than has been the case under conditions of growth that the selection environment may favour more ‘embedded’ forms of economic activity, insulating both social and ecological capital from the predations of unregulated markets.."
Willy De Backer's insight:
One of the best articles of 2012, not always easy to read but a great analysis of how the new limits to growth needs fundamental rethinking of the role of the state, communities, and social innovators fighting for social and ecological protection.
Even companies with broad and aggressive environmental commitments are neglecting a core component of sustainability: worker health and safety. Heather Lang reports.
"Growing public concern over environmental issues does not yet fully extend to social issues, particularly worker treatment. Likewise, while many companies compete over environmental leadership, social issues are often critically overlooked."
Very good analysis of one of the often forgotten dimensions of sustainability.
"For the last thirty years we have been operating a faulty economic model. Yet it has survived the second deepest recession of the last 100 years largely intact. To escape today’s era of slow and intermittent growth and prolonged instability requires the great concentrations of income and wealth to be broken up – just as they were in the 1930s. Instead, across the globe, the great wealth divide has continued to grow through the recession." (Source: Open Democracy)
Brilliant analysis of the relationship between the Great Depression and 30 years of free-market policies which increased inequalities in all economies.
"The SGI project has released a new study on Social Justice in the OECD. The report offers a comparative assessment of 31 OECD countries with regard to six key dimensions: poverty prevention, equitable access to education, labor market inclusiveness, social cohesion and non-discrimination, health as well as intergenerational justice."
Excellent analysis by Umair Haque of the new protest movements for social justice :
"The Metamovement isn't just a faint, transient echo, but the increasingly resonant reverberation of people challenging this brutal state of malfunction, this Great Splintering of institutions and social contracts. Their truth, I suspect, might be this: there's no one left to turn to — and so the Metamovement has turned to each other. Not for yesterday's notions of "solidarity", or the corporatist ideal of "inspiration, "but as nodes in a pulsing network whose coherence defines it: to demand institutions which can literally deliver the goods of enlightened social contracts. That enshrine in the people, first and foremost, the inalienable right to be authors of their own destinies — instead of condemning them to be mute puppets."
"What is urgently needed are initiatives to expose the capture of states by the financial sector, but also—much more difficult—analysis of how societies in crisis allow stereotypes of the ‘other’ to be popularised, opening the way to violence and ultimately, war."
Willy De Backer's insight:
Excellent article on how the capture of the state by the financial elites is leading to nationalist-populist policies to undermine the social welfare state and organised labour.
"A lost generation of 14 million out-of-work and disengaged young Europeans is costing member states a total of €153bn (£124bn) a year – 1.2% of the EU's gross domestic product – the largest study of the young unemployed has concluded."
John Elkington finds inspiration in the ready and available solutions listed in the Sustainia100 prospectus...
Interesting post by John Elkington on the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog but strange that the "father" of the "triple bottom line" is seriously leaving out the social dimension of sustainability. Are the capitalist elites preparing their Green Army-protected sustainability islands in the midst of civilisation collapse?
Less than five per cent of the £110 billion annual budget for health is spent on public health and health promotion. We prefer to fund flashing blue lights, emergency rooms and defibrillators. Yet it is chronic obesity, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, hypertension, depression and addiction that are swallowing up the healthcare budget. These are the modern ‘dis-eases’ of society: not amenable to quick-fix cure, and requiring treatment at root.
Good article from the New Economics Foundation looking at how policymakers are trying to cure instead of prevent social evils.
"Unless countries reduce income disparities the next financial collapse is inevitable, argues economist Michael Kumhof. Perhaps a surprising conclusion from a senior researcher at the IMF. In interview he argues that equality is the best recipe against crisis."
Great interview in Eurozine with IMF economist Michael Kumhof.
In America, workers are pressured to accept wage cuts, loss of job security, elimination of pensions, and more shifting of medical costs. Maybe we should start calling free trade agreements "de-industrialization agreements."
Interesting editorial on the "free trade" ideology and its social implications in The Huffington Post.
From 1979 to 2007, average household income for the nation's top 1% nearly tripled, while middle-class incomes grew by less than 40%, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found.
Austerity policies do not hurt the rich, while American dream becomes American nightmare for the middle classes.
President Obama will seek a new minimum tax rate to ensure that people making more than $1 million a year pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, administration officials said.
Populist measure from a weak president - will have no impact whatsoever on US and global inequality.