What jobs can or cannot we do amid the inevitable environmental emergency, how will the labor market be restructured and what social justice mechanisms Will they be put in place at the institutional level so that the most vulnerable do not pay for a crisis in which the upper classes accumulate more responsibility? These are some of the big questions of this decade, and probably this century.
As in any complex affair, there are no miracle recipes, and even the usual ideological discourses come up against this unprecedented situation. Textbook Marxism, or even an orthodox approach to human rights, would encourage workers to defend their traditional demands at all costs, even if these are part of a dysfunctional paradigm. But when there are no fish, no breathing air, no trees, that tusk will have been a tiny lifeline in the swell of a tsunami. Consequently, the defense of the rights of all must be done from a ecological awareness who, on the basis of scientific data, imagine solutions adapted to the gravity that awaits us. In other words: the political struggle must be accompanied by a future projectand that’s not where all jobs fit, nor the current work model based on the relentless exploitation of natural resources within a finite planet.
A recent report by Ecologists in Action assures that there is sectors forced to decline, such as the automotive industry, responsible for 1.8 million jobs in our country, and tourism, which employs 2.62 million people. We are talking about a very high percentage of GDP which, if it were to disappear, would cause the immediate collapse of the Spanish economy; these are, let’s not forget, not numbers, but perhaps starving, expelled people who in another era brought their best labor to decent work. However, the scarcity of fossil fuels – partly because of peak oil or peak oil – and the peremptory commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions they impose a scenario where the private vehicle will soon be inconceivable, the aviation that transports thousands of tourists to our shores each year will be unfeasible, and even these beaches crowded with bathers could vanish due to erosion and the rise of the sea level.
No one in their right mind would want to destroy the most honest ways of earning lentils, but if those lentils are grown in the crater of a volcano and the volcano erupts, it’s best to abandon them. In return, the report proposes the job creation for agroecology, forest management Yes waste, insufficient numerically even if the workers of a sector could easily be relocated in another, which is a chimera. From a myriad of disciplines, researchers are crying out the establishment of a care economyas it supports David Graber in shitty jobs, as well as the execution of tasks aimed at the common good which prevent, in turn, that we become depressive and self-exploited automatons for the benefit of four millionaire managers. The North American anthropologist also proposed the establishment of a universal basic income, a measure that the economist Ioana Marinescu has studied at length in combination with a carbon tax. This would make it possible to reduce polluting emissions while collecting what is necessary to weave a social mattress guaranteeing the satisfaction of basic needs, essential for the time that the readjustments of the market and the training of those who decide to change sector last.
Flexibility, understood as right to learning in decent conditions not like a cheap dismissal, it would help deal with the frictions that will no doubt come, as the climate emergency escalates. On the other hand, many voices are being heard in favor of investing in the public sector, in particular to strengthen the welfare state (health, education) since the authors of The limits of growth (1972) exerted its importance in a slowing, if not completely declining, economy.
Eventually, as the Ecologistas report predicted, we should move towards desalination, that is, a system where selling our labor power was not a requirement for leading a good life characterized by an abundance of bread, collective networks of support and solidarity. It’s the only way to fight capitalist monster that has managed to equate human dignity with infinite growthincreasingly arduous working hours and planetary destruction when we need more leisure, time for activities that do not destroy nature or our health, greater economic autonomy and a redistribution of wealth.