Jobs and Livelihoods

As we transition from the old Wall Street economy to a new green Main Street economy, we must develop strategies to create good jobs and meaningful livelihoods for all.

About the Discussion

We are currently faced with the reality that the structure of the old economy and its emphasis on Wall Street have destroyed hundreds of good jobs. Only a fundamental transformation of the base values of the economy will create meaningful jobs and livelihoods for all. This NET session focuses on the topic of jobs and livelihoods and positions it within the broader New Economy framework.

In framing this topic, it is important to also consider several myths about job creation currently circulating in economics and politics. For instance, the growth myth has gained traction even in progressive circles. The idea that growth is the best (or only) way to producing good jobs is a popular myth that must be debunked because of the flawed definition we have of ‘growth’ (is the continual production of useless goods and increasing waste and pollution true growth?). Several models, organizations, and legislation (like the Cleveland Model, the work of Sarita Gupta, Ai-jen Poo and others) that address this issue of good jobs and point to the New Economy are discussed by the presenters.

This session is lead by John Cavanagh, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb of the Democracy Collaborative, Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Sarita Gupta of Jobs with Justice.  

Suggested Background Readings 

What Then Must We Do? by Gar Alperovitz

 JOBS: A Main Street Fix for Wall Street's Failure, a report by The New Economy Working Group

Information on Living Enterprises and the various ways they can be structured

Examples of Co-operatives: the Cleveland Model (official website here) and the Mondragon Corporation)

YouTube Playlist

The Minutes for this NET Session

These minutes (PDF) contain not only the presentations shown in the main video above, but also question and answer sessions that took place throughout the session.

Additional Resources

Obama's disastrous path, article by Katrina vanden Heuvel (mentioned by John)

Climate Change and Community Stability and the Next 150 Million Americans, a report by Thad Williamson, Steve Dubb, and Gar Alperovitz (mentioned by Gar)

America Beyond Capitalism by Gar Alperovitz

An interview with Gar Alperovitz, positioning many themes discussed here within the whole New Economy paradigm (mentioned in the NET session) offers more resources to promote community-based development

A New Era for Worker Ownership? by Gar Alperovitz
Non-profits like The Working World support cooperatives
It's the New Economy, Stupid by John Cavanagh
10 Ways to Solve the Jobs Problem by Fran Korten
Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet Schor (mentioned by Gus Speth)
Why Building Community Wealth is a Key Challenge to Corporate Power by Steve Dubb
More resources here

For questions and comments, see the forum for this NET session

                                                             Part of the NET Discussion series