You are here

Labor / Economics

Stories about Labor and Economics.

Wilderness areas more often a boon, not drag

Thomas M. Power and George Wuerthner

Wildland preservation is motivated by a variety of ethical, biological, cultural, and recreational concerns. Rarely are efforts to protect wildlands motivated by an interest in promoting economic growth.

Those working on wildland preservation have been forced to take up the issue of local economic impacts because those supporting commercial development of those wild natural landscapes emphatically assert that wildland preservation damages the local and national economies by restricting access to valuable natural resources and constraining commercial economic activity that otherwise would take place.

Yet numerous economic studies suggest that protecting landscapes for their wildlands values at the very least has little negative impact on local/regional economies and in most instances is a positive net economic benefit.

How to kill the demos: the water struggle in Italy

Andrea Muehlebach

On November 28, 2015, water activists from the Southern Italian region of Campania staged a massive protest in the city of Naples. Some 5,000 water activists and environmentalists, trade unionists and workers from Naples’ water works protested a recently passed regional law that aims to centralize water management and set the stage for water privatization.

The demonstration was one in several that occurred in the last few years. Previous demonstrations had been organized against an (only nominally) public water company that manages water services in 76 Campanian municipalities and that had made water prices soar and water-shut offs proliferate. What was striking about this protest was not only the presence of Naples’ mayor Luigi de Magistris but of more than thirty mayors walking shoulder to shoulder with protesters. The latter were part of a network of mayors that had been formed in 2013 to protest privatization and to underscore their commitment to the public and participatory management of water.

Can the Climate Movement Break Free from the "Jobs. vs. Environment" Debate?

Kate Aronoff

For two weeks this May, organizers across 12 countries will participate in Break Free 2016, an open-source invitation to encourage "more action to keep fossil fuels in the ground and an acceleration in the just transition to 100 percent renewable energy." Many of the month's events -- pulled together by and a slew of groups around the world -- are set to take place within ongoing campaigns to shut down energy infrastructure, targeting "some of the most iconic and dangerous fossil fuel projects all over the world" with civil disobedience.

The Break Free site's opening page invites viewers to "join a global wave of resistance to keep coal, oil and natural gas in the ground." And that's where some unions have taken issue.

Why is it so hard for capitalism to go green?

David Mirtz

This past Earth Day at the United Nations, leaders from around the world signed what is being called a "landmark agreement" to address the climate crisis. Without a doubt, it is a positive step forward and can help create the political momentum to address what is arguably the defining issue of this century. But as Coral Davenport noted in the New York Times when the accord was hammered out in Paris in December, "The new deal will not, on its own, solve global warming."

Scientists say the greenhouse emission targets that the parties agree to will only count for about half of what is needed to stop atmospheric temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). That's the point where many studies say the world becomes locked into a future of rising sea levels, drought, flooding, more destructive weather patterns, and shortages of food and water.

Labor in the Age of Climate Change

Stefania Barca

Climate change must be stopped. But who will do the stopping? Who, in other words, could be the political subject of an anticapitalist climate revolution?

I am convinced this social agent could be, and indeed must be, the global working class. Yet to play this role, the working class must develop an emancipatory ecological class consciousness.

Fortunately, history is rife with examples of this kind of green-red synthesis — labor environmentalism is as old as the trade union movement.

Can Capitalism and Mankind Both Survive?

Dave Lindorff

Scientists have for decades recognized climate change as an existential crisis facing mankind, but the US media, hamstrung by a self-inflicted obsession with presenting “both sides” of every story even when there is only one, have only begun recognizing its gravity. And a huge barrier still prevents climate change from being honestly reported.

That barrier is a mainstream journalistic inability to address the central role global capitalism plays in propelling climate change, and to expose the determined, collaborative and usually carefully hidden, role it plays in stymying the profound government actions needed to prevent or at least fend off catastrophe.

Jobs, Justice, Climate: the struggle continues

Martin Empson

A review of Paul Hampton, Workers and Trade Unions for Climate Solidarity: Tackling Climate Change in a Neoliberal World (Routledge Studies in Climate, Work and Society, 2015), £90

The complete and utter failure of the world’s governments to take meaningful action on climate change was once again apparent at the COP21 talks in Paris in December 2015. In Britain, the Conservative government was barely into its new term before it announced policies that undermined even the minimal commitments its predecessors had made. Their policies favoured fracking and other fossil fuels over renewable energy, airport and road expansion over public transport, and introduced reductions in funding that should have helped insulate homes.

Resource-Cursed South Africa Suffers More Mining Massacres

Patrick Bond

The undermining of the African economy and society by minerals tycoons never ceases. When times were good and the commodity super-cycle raised prices to all-time highs from 2002-11, the natural resources boom could have been channelled into benefits for the citizenry, perhaps through a sovereign wealth fund or nationalised mines.

But pro-corporate policy prevailed and instead of circulating the wealth, most major mining houses are headquartered overseas and export their profits. The continent suffered a net negative outflow of wealth (‘adjusted net saving’), according to even the pro-extraction-and-export World Bank. Depletion of so-called ‘natural capital’ (i.e. ripping minerals from the soil) left the continent’s producers poorer, especially during the 2000s boom that was misnamed ‘Africa Rising’.


Subscribe to RSS - Labor / Economics