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  • The Center for a New American Dream presents

  • Juliet Schor's Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth.

  • In the 1970s, researchers predicted that human overuse of planetary resources

  • would surface at the beginning of the 21st century.

  • Almost on cue, food prices skyrocketed, peak oil got closer

  • and pollution destabilized the climate.

  • In 2008, financial collapse erased a trillion dollars of wealth

  • and the US lost over 8 million jobs.

  • Three years later, there were 44 million people on food stamps

  • and five job seekers for every available position.

  • Meanwhile, the richest 5% of the population

  • had managed to grab a record 65% of the country’s wealth.

  • Wall Street and big companies were thriving, but poverty, anger,

  • and social discontent were rising.

  • The official discourse allows for just one way of solving these problems:

  • expand production, rev up the engine and hope the jobs will trickle down.

  • But no realistic estimates of growth are high enough

  • to reemploy the 25 million people who are out of work or can only find part-time jobs.

  • And the indiscriminate growth we'd get would intensify ecological overshoot,

  • which in turn creates more financial instability.

  • We can't just trade one problem off for another.

  • We need to reduce ecological impact and create jobs.

  • How do we do that?

  • We absolute have to get off fossil fuels,

  • and innovation and technology are essential.

  • But a common suggestion, technologically-driven "green growth"

  • is only a partial solution,

  • because growth itself degrades planetary resources.

  • We also have to challenge our devotion to endless growth

  • by building a new economic model and way of living.

  • We need a plenitude economy.

  • Its central insight is that

  • changing how we spend our time is the key to reducing environmental impact,

  • creating more jobs, and giving us all a better life.

  • Americans could use a break.

  • Since the 1970s, working hours have risen by about 200 hours a year.

  • That extra work creates stress and impairs family life.

  • Long hours also boost carbon emissions.

  • So let’s reduce worktime.

  • Rather than hiring 4 workers for full-time schedules,

  • an employer takes 5, each working 80%, or a 4-day workweek.

  • Yes, well need to address the costs of benefits, but that’s solvable.

  • Some years ago, the Netherlands government did this for all its new employees.

  • Eventually the whole Dutch financial sector went to 80%.

  • A fairer distribution of work makes the income distribution fairer too,

  • because too little work is a major cause of poverty.

  • Giving people more time off is also at the heart of the trend to DIY,

  • or do-it-yourself.

  • People are growing vegetables, bee-keeping, canning and brewing beer.

  • Theyre building low-cost, eco-friendly housing;

  • generating energy; sewing clothing, and even making manufactured items

  • with desktop-sized computer-controlled machines.

  • DIY is savvy economics because 21st century technologies

  • have raised the productivity of small scale production.

  • It allows people to live better with less money,

  • exercise their creativity, and even start businesses

  • as they develop expertise in new, eco-intelligent ways of producing.

  • And when people work less, they tend to consume less.

  • The planet gets some time off too.

  • Plenitude practitioners are also finding security

  • by linking up with each other.

  • There’s a wave of social innovation for sharing, bartering,

  • informal and neighborhood exchange, re-use and re-sale.

  • The sustainability movement motivated it. The internet facilitated it.

  • And the economic downturn mainstreamed it

  • as cash got scarce and time got more abundant.

  • People are having fun and saving money with clothing and soup swaps,

  • car and ride sharing, couch surfing and tool libraries.

  • Theyre building social capital

  • as an alternative to the borrow-and-spend consumer culture.

  • So there’s the new model:

  • a plenitude economy that gives people more time away from work,

  • expanded opportunities for low-impact economic activity,

  • and a commitment to social connection and community.

  • It’s a way to reclaim a human scale to our economy,

  • take responsibility for our lifestyles,

  • and treat one another and the planet with the respect we all deserve.

  • The Center for a New American Dream: more of what matters.

The Center for a New American Dream presents

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Visualizing a Plenitude Economy

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    孫子文 posted on 2013/11/28
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