Social Economy and work in municipalities

Social Economy and work in municipalities

Recently, the Institute of Social Economy Studies “INMEKO” sent a letter to all municipalities for a comprehensive plan for the development of the social economy at the local level. Given the response to a relevant proposal in more than ten Municipalities and in particular for training the program “Mentors” of Social Economy, the issue was raised by the Municipalities that, at the local level there is reluctance for social cooperatives and labor cooperatives.

The Unemployed prefer the unemployment card with the benefits and the “eight months” in the Municipalities, rather than getting involved in processes that really need to work and take responsibilities. Unfortunately, we were told that the programs of the Ministry of Labor finance unemployment and wages even from the NSRF and not productive labor.

Of course, we are aware of this trend and in the past we have criticized low wages in the guise of community service, but it is time to look more closely at work and social enterprises in which it is a necessary condition to involve social collectives.

Indeed, the average citizen would always like to be employed. Preferably in the permanent public. Second to a large private company that provides him with equal security.

He wants the confidence and carelessness that paid work provides in the face of the stress of self-employment. So even if a professional earns more than one employee, his children with more education even prefer paid work.

Many worship the state as if it were the god on earth. Still others insult the state because they expect everything from the state as this suits them against individual and collective responsibility.

Only highly confident people choose to be freelancers or people who want to use resources from their personal wealth.

Freelancers tend to be more than the scientific professions, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, than craftsmen and artisans.

Small businesses are also dwindling. Livestock farmers and growers are also largely abandoning their traditional work for a wage, thus widening the gap between production and services. At the same time, useful professions are limited to local production. New technologies of robotic computing and internet with automation disappear in two decades large pieces of paid work.

Thus we have reached an economy that is completely dependent on labor for industry and services and here begins a new historical phase with internal antinomies in the system.

The “vision” of the average person of unlimited paid work loved by employers and employees is no longer for everyone. Many will have to become self-employed like their grandparents in order to make a living. Not necessarily breeders and growers but providing welfare products and services to an aging population.

The new conditions in the workplace therefore make the need for alternative employment relationships and to tackle poverty imperative.

The unemployed can not easily create sustainable social enterprises on their own, but they can participate in social enterprises and cooperatives supported by local collectives and the Local Government.

The doctrine of wage labor emerged from the post-industrial revolution, the centralization of production, the automation, the verticalization of the large trade and distribution networks needed by armies of workers.

These conditions were created by technologies that relied on energy from fossil fuels. Without this interaction of technologies and energy sources, mass production and the culmination of wage labor would be impossible.

Let’s see what has really happened in recent years that drastically changes the data in capital and labor.

Until the end of the 20th century we knew that new investments and growth also created new jobs. Now in large industrial companies and services the opposite is happening. Super-automation digital technology and robotics are limiting jobs. The vacancy is created in small and medium-sized enterprises that can not withstand high competition, not enough funds and close.

On the other hand, the earth’s energy resources with fossil fuels governed by the law of resource scarcity are limited compared to alternative energy sources.

THE SUN as an energy source beyond the original collection facility can be abundant and free energy, thanks to the new technologies of pumping energy directly from the Sun but also the transformation of this energy into hydrogen. This perspective, which has only emerged in recent years, brings with it huge reshuffles of capital and labor. In the first phase, Capital seems to be gaining ground and reducing jobs and labor costs. Apart from the capitalists, it seems that consumers also benefit from the offer of cheap industrial products. But the unemployment caused by this process deprives the unemployed of their consumer potential. From here, things get trickier, and this is where the true magic begins! Many winners of the chapter will be defeated and drowned by the new wave of distributed energy that is coming. The third wave of the industrial green revolution with the Sun as its main source of energy. But this development gives the opportunity for energy communities and free energy in public and municipal infrastructure. Quantitative energy donation is going to make sustainable traditional occupations and crops that have been abandoned and are considered inactive resources viable.

Privatizations in public infrastructure

Another global development leads the current exemplary model of the economy to a crisis sooner or later. As states are heavily indebted in their quest to maintain the functioning of the system not only with welfare state benefits but with benefit policies in large companies and banks they resort to privatizations to temporarily boost public revenues. However, they do not privatize the problematic public companies but those that definitely have profits for individuals such as: public road networks for tolls, energy resources, telecommunications, airports, etc.

The price that is collected most of the time does not provide more than the 3-5 years of revenues that these public infrastructures bring, while we know that it took many decades with public investments to build them. Public debt in this practice in the long run not only does not decrease but grows and the problem appears when the “bubble” of the system bursts like in 2008. The heavily indebted state can not service public and private debt to creditors. Then there is no other solution than “cutting” the debt. Privatization of public infrastructure in the long run brings nothing but the collapse of the system.

But in the long run, as the genius Keynes used to say, we will all be dead and therefore we do not care much. But it is of interest to the next generations and our children and the worst thing is that for the developments the time is near.

The acceleration of privatization does not shield the exemplary model as neoclassical economists believe, but leads to its collapse more quickly when lenders financially exterminate states. The states that essentially first of all protect the interests of Capital. That is why the internal rift is inevitable and the new exemplary model of the social economy is needed for a sustainable future.

THE LAND OF RARE AND THE SUN OF ABUNDANCE

The rift in the exemplary model comes from developments as we have said in the field of energy. From the abundance and free energy of the Sun versus the scarcity of the earth’s energy resources. The energy landscape changes when local communities and municipalities gain autonomy in energy through cooperation. We should also point out that the social economy differs in terms of capital composition but also in terms of wage labor. The capital in this case is participatory and consists of the cooperating producers and consumers and the use of fixed assets belonging to the community. The work is flat rate and the pay is according to the deliverables. Thus labor costs are adjusted according to performance. There can be no wages like the public. The benefit is often in the provision of goods and not in money as is the case in energy communities.

But cooperatives in Greece also collapsed, our politicians will tell us, and in part justifiably.

It is true but which cooperatives. In the former Soviet Union, too, state-controlled kolkhozes and collectives collapsed, but in a number of former Eastern countries, workers’ unions in East Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria are now flourishing. And if we go to West Germany and a number of other Central European countries, energy communities and consumer cooperatives flourish. In Greece, a state-owned model in agricultural cooperatives and not social cooperatives also collapsed.

It is true but which cooperatives. In the former Soviet Union, too, state-controlled kolkhozes and collectives collapsed, but in a number of former Eastern countries, workers’ unions in East Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria are now flourishing. And if we go to West Germany and a number of other Central European countries, energy communities and consumer cooperatives flourish. In Greece, a state-owned model in agricultural cooperatives and not social cooperatives also collapsed.

So when throughout Europe the Social Economy has been linked to the sustainable future of work and solidarity, this perspective cannot be ignored by Greek Politics and Local Government.