Work time reduction and economic democracy as climate change mitigation strategies: or why the climate needs a renewed labor movement

  • Ryan GundersonEmail author


Work time reduction (WTR), or reductions in the total amount of time spent in paid work, and economic democracy, or shifting the control of firms from capitalists to workers, are discussed as strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase well-being. Along with numerous social benefits, reduced working hours are associated with reductions in GHG emissions, energy use, and ecological footprints. Economic democracy not only increases individual and group autonomy, but also creates conditions conducive to lower energy and material throughput. A successful implementation of WTR and/or economic democracy presupposes a renewed labor movement. One tactic to help revive the labor movement is highlighting its capacity to help fight climate change. Pairing WTR and economic democracy may help overcome the false antithesis between the interests of workers and the environment. There is a genuine “win-win” scenario for people and the climate via shorter working hours in democratically controlled workplaces.


Working time regulation Work sharing Degrowth Gorz Worker cooperatives Union renewal 


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© AESS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and GerontologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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