Rethinking work for a degrowth future – online talk with Professor Erik Gomez-Baggethun

London School of Film, Media and Design

Research Seminars Spring 2022

LSFMD X Gender Technology and Work Research Group

Thursday 3 March 5- 6 pm    


Professor Erik Gómez-Baggethun

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Rethinking work for a degrowth future Robotization, climate change, and now also the covid pandemic are destabilizing ideas on work and working time. Degrowth scholars and activists advocate reducing working hours to reduce climate emissions, improve quality of life, and reduce unemployment. However, the dominant line of thinking in business, policy, and the media remains that substantive work time reductions are unfeasible, unaffordable, or undesirable, and many people tend to conceive prevailing workweeks as a ‘natural’ configuration of time. Drawing on insight from history and work utopias, this seminar attempts to broaden the frames of current discussions on work and working time. By exposing myths and prejudices pervading debates on work, it provides elements to rethink prevailing ideas about meaning, purpose, volume, and distribution of work. After taking issue with universal basic income and full automation as leading aspirations in alternative imaginaries of work, a case is made for reorganizing work around the principle of egalitarian distribution of minimal necessary labour. The seminar concludes with reflections on how this principle can be operationalized in practice.    

Erik Gómez-Baggethun is a Professor in Environmental Governance at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford. His research covers topics in ecological economics, environmental values, and sustainability science, areas in which he has published ~150 papers, book chapters, and policy reports. He is president elect of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) and serves as an expert on nature’s values for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES).