Can Less Work be More Fair? A discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and shorter working week – The Green Institute


Does a world with more insecure work need to be a world of greater instability and fear? Couldn’t it, instead, be an opportunity to build a fairer, greener society?

That’s the fundamental question we ask, and try to answer, in an exciting new paper we’re publishing today – Can Less Work be More Fair?

The paper started life some months ago as an attempt to grapple with important social, political and economic trends in a troubling and difficult climate. It finds itself published in a new era – an era when the need to find new, radical policy options is both more urgent and more obvious.

With powerful, thoughtful and stimulating contributions from leading thinkers including Eva Cox, Jon Altman, Louise Tarrant, Clare Ozich and Frank Stilwell, this paper is an important stimulation to start a serious political debate around ideas of shorter working hours and a Universal Basic Income.

Retreat into nationalist or protectionist politics, as both the Coalition and Labor, as well as many commentators, have done since Brexit and the election of Donald Trump – will not save or regenerate jobs which no longer exist due to automation or economic change. This attitude, at its worst, can lead towards a descent into the ugly far-right politics that we are witnessing around the world, which will help nobody and potentially hurt countless millions even more than the current system hurts them. We must not allow that to happen.

What if, instead of trying to recreate an old world of abundant paid work, we embraced this phenomenon and built systems, institutions and cultures in which less paid work could lead to greater equity, reinvigorated democracy and civil society, better environmental outcomes, and a more caring, creative, connected community?

SOURCE: “Can Less Work be More Fair? A discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and shorter working week”, The Green Institute, 09 Dec 2016

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