Right to leisure instead of old redistribution debates

Claus Leggewie takes the floor with an interjection on the future of work that is as political as one could wish for. From the perspective of sociological science, he takes a sober look at the current debates, which in Germany call for a 42-hour workweek ; while other countries and progressive companies have long practiced the 3-4-day workweek, which seems much more contemporary.

It has long been empirically plausible that a reduction in working hours, for example in the form of a regular four-day workweek, brings with it a significant reduction in the ecological footprint. This labor policy measure, which has already crept in under the radar as common practice in many rich countries, represents a far greater lever of transformation toward sustainability, a far greater contribution to climate protection, than many small-scale behavioral changes in consumption and everyday life (without being dispensed with.) This is primarily because an across-the-board reduction in weekly and monthly working hours would contribute significantly to the overdue transportation turnaround by limiting commuter mobility of trips to and from work.

However, this environmental “win” only takes effect if one does not submit to the prevailing dictates of mobile leisure activities. And instead seeks satisfaction in diverse, varied fields of activity that can be pursued “unconditionally.” This would require a freedom that is oriented neither “at work” nor “in leisure time” to competition and selection, but enables a socially recognized being in the here and now.

In this respect, income and work should be decoupled and a right to leisure should be included in the constitution. In this context, the unconditional basic income experiences an emancipatory power and enables a utopia that is radically ecologically imperative in view of the crises of our time. Whereby the crises also enable a transition toward a new sociopolitical narrative. But what some old fundamentalists have to learn to understand first …


Article published on September 3, 2022 on piqd as a reference to the IPG article. Cake for all!

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