Friday, November 28, 2008
Castriota incepe prin a prezenta asa-numitul Paradox al lui Easterlin, conform caruia desi veniturile populatiei cresc, fericirea nu creste odata cu ele. In cuvintele lui:
"For long time the study of happiness was treated almost exclusively by psychologists and, to a lower extent, by sociologists. The topic of happiness has become increasingly popular among economists after the paper by Easterlin (1974) suggested how the main objective function to be maximized by policy makers should be happiness rather than economic growth, income or consumption. In fact, the author showed that average self-reported happiness appears to be the same across rich and poor countries and that economic growth does not raise well-being."
Educatia, opusa materialismului
Castriota argumenteaza ca o explicatie plauzibila a Paradoxului amintit este ca odata ce nivelul educatiei in societate creste, oamenii devin mai putin interesati de bani si consum, deoarece obtin slujbe interesante si au preocupari intelectuale satisfacatoare.
"Several theories try to explain this unexpected finding, which is referred to as the “Easterlin paradox”. In this paper I present a new theory based on education. Using data on more than 118,000 individuals from the World Bank’s World Value Survey (third and
fourth waves) I show that the education level affects the importance people attribute to the level of GDP per capita (the “absolute” income). Everything else being equal, the higher the education level is, the less relevant the GDP level for life-satisfaction. The possible explanation is that highly educated persons have on average more interesting jobs and more active and stimulating cultural lives. Consequently, the quantity of material goods a person can buy becomes less important. It is reasonable to believe that a low education level reduces the chances of achieving a high level of job satisfaction and the probability to have a stimulating cultural life, and makes the purchase of material goods a more important determinant of the life-satisfaction."
"Education plays an important role in human life. It affects well-being directly and indirectly. Direct influences include the positive effect on self-confidence and self-estimation, and pleasure from acquiring knowledge. Indirect influences refer to higher employment probability, better job quality, higher expected salary and better health.
Although the empirical evidence on the link between education and life-satisfaction is not fully conclusive, the majority of studies find a positive effect of education on happiness, even after controlling for income levels.
In this paper I focus on the effect of education on the importance people attach to the GDP level. Using data from the World Bank’s World Value Survey (third and fourth waves) on more than 118,000 individuals living in 81 countries I find that, everything else being equal, the higher the education level attained is, the lower the weight attributed to the GDP. The weight attached by people with high education versus people with low education is around 30% to 40% lower, according to the econometric methodology adopted. I propose two different explanations for these findings, the most likely being that people with high education have on average higher job satisfaction and a more
stimulating cultural life, thus they end up considering less important the consumption level they can achieve.
The empirical results of this research can help to explain the Easterlin Paradox. Since all over the world the average education level has risen a lot over the last decades, the number of people considering the absolute income level less relevant for life-satisfaction has considerably grown."
Asadar, educatia si o viata culturala activa inseamna imbunatatirea increderii in sine, respectului de sine, placere din obtinerea de noi informatii, precum si probabilitatea marita de a obtine un loc de munca de calitate. Pentru oamenii educati, importanta PIB-uluieste cu pana la 30%-40% mai mica pentru fericirea personala decat pentru cei necalificati. Aceste rezultate sunt confirmate la nivel global si pot explica Paradoxul Easterlin: nu exista crestere proportionala intre venituri si fericire deoarece odata cu cresterea nivelului educatiei in societate, banii au o importanta tot mai scazuta pentru individ.
Aceasta inseamna ca intr-o societate egalitarista, in care acumularea de bani peste o limita devine prohibita, oamenii vor fi fortati sa-si gaseasca alte preocupari decat imbogatirea si acumularea materiale, printre care se va afla si culturalizarea. Astfel, nivelul general de cultura va creste in societate si oamenii vor resimti din ce in ce mai putin lipsa banilor peste acel anumit nivel.
In lucrarea sa, Castriota enumera alte motive care conduc la si explica Paradoxul lui Easterlin. E util sa le trecem din nou in revista, avand in vedere ca fiecare dintre ele dovedeste ca sporirea PIB-ului peste un anumit nivel e incapabila de a spori fericirea populatiei.
Utilitatea marginala in scadere a venitului absolut
"Now, the interesting question is: what “neutralizes” the positive effect of income when countries get richer? Five main theories can help to explain these findings on the irrelevance of GDP for happiness over time and across countries. The first is based on the
diminishing marginal utility of absolute income. The higher the absolute income is, the lower the additional utility. Once countries have reached a certain level of wealth it becomes difficult to see any clear effect of additional income. This can be due to the fact that initially income is used to buy indispensable articles (primary goods) and is reflected to the entire society through the improvements of the welfare systems, while afterwards it is used more and more for unnecessary goods and leisure time."
Asadar, banii aduc fericirea numai atata timp cat ei sunt folositi pentru satisfacerea unor nevoi de baza. Ceea ce este peste, asa-numitul lux, e incapabil de a mai oferi o satisfactie relevanta.
Adaptarea la venit
The second theory refers to income adaptation. People increase their aspirations over time because they adapt to the new standard of living. If this is true, the GDP growth rate should matter a lot and should contribute to explain why in advanced economies,
which typically display higher GDP levels but lower growth rates, money does not buy happiness anymore."
Asadar, cu cat castigam mai mult, cu atat aspiratiile si ambitiile noastre cresc, ceea ce inseamna ca oricat de mult am avea deja, nu e suficient si vrem si mai mult.
Importanta venitului relativ
"The third theory stresses the importance of relative, rather than
absolute income. “Riches do bring happiness, provided you are richer than other people” (Layard (1980), p. 737). Life-satisfaction is positively affected by people’s own income and negatively affected by the incomes of others. People compare their income with that
of their reference group, thus a raise of the absolute income level which leaves unchanged one’s position in the income distribution will weakly affect his satisfaction level."
Inegalitatile de venit in societate inseamna ca oricat de mult am avea, suntem invidiosi pe cei care au si mai mult, devenind astfel mai putin satisfacuti cu ce avem noi. Eradicarea acestor inegalitati inseamna eliminarea unei perpetue surse de nemultumire.
Cresterea economica si deteriorarea conditiilor sociale
"The fourth theory refers to the deteriorating social conditions which accompany economic growth. Since there is various evidence for a worrying deterioration on the quality of the relationships within family and social communities, improvements in the material standards of living may not be sufficient to increase overall well-being. In fact, in most Western countries suicide, divorce and criminality rates have been rising. Over the last two decades average working hours and overtime have increased for both men
and, especially, women in the United States and other countries."
Cresterea economica inseamna nu doar mai multe ore de munca, ci si deteriorarea vietii personale dovedita de indicatori precum cresterea sinuciderilor, divorturilor, criminalitatii. De aceea pretul platit pentru aceasta crestere e suficient de mare incat sa anuleze orice avantaje ar putea fi castigata de cealalta parte.
Per total, putem concluziona ca educatia impiedica pornirile materialiste si ca prosperitatea materiala si cresterea PIB-ului sunt de cele mai multe ori neputincioase in ceea ce priveste cresterea satisfactiei personale. Sa punem deci accent pe culturalizare si mai putin pe acumularea materiala, exact unul din scopurile miscarii downshifting!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
In decembrie 2006, Center for Economic and Policy Researh a dat publicitatii un document intitulat "Are Shorter Work Hours Good for the Environment? A Comparison of U.S. and European
Energy Consumption" in care autorii David Rosnick si Mark Weisbrot argumenteaza ca o scadere a orelor de munca are un impact cat se poate de pozitiv si relevant asupra sanatatii mediului.
Ce s-ar intampla daca lumea ar adopta modelul american
"Europe currently consumes about half as much energy per person as the United States, and this would change if Europeans worked as many hours as U.S. workers do.
This paper looks at the potential environmental effects of such a change. If the countries of “Old Europe” were to adopt U.S. practices and increase annual work hours to American levels, they could
consume some 30 percent more energy than they do at present. Not only could that impact fuel prices worldwide, but the resulting carbon emissions would make it far more difficult for the EU to meet its
commitments to the Kyoto Protocol.
As the economies of developing countries grow, those nations will look to the U.S. and European labor models. Worldwide energy patterns, therefore, will be dependent on which model developing countries choose in the next few decades. If, by 2050, the world works as many hours as do Americans it could consume 15-30 percent more energy than it would following Europe. The additional carbon emissions could result in 1 to 2 degrees Celsius in extra global warming."
Asadar, daca Europa ar lua ca model numarul de ore muncite in SUA, am consuma cu 30% mai multa energie, cu efecte grave: cresterea pretului combustibililor, rarefierea acestei resurse si practic imposibilitatea de a mai respecte protocoale de mediu ca cel de la Kyoto. Acelasi efect l-ar avea adoptarea de catre tarile in curs de dezvoltare a modelului de munca american. In conditiile in care americanii muncesc cu 16% mai mult decat europenii, informatie prezentata tot in raportul de fata.
Ce s-ar intampla daca SUA ar lua ca model Europa
"Although it is not high on the political agenda at this time, there is the possibility of the reverse outcome: that the United States moves more in the direction of Europe, which would reduce energy consumption. For example, if the United States had adopted European standards for work hours, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 would have been 7 percent lower than its actual 1990 emissions—the negotiated goal for the U.S. in meeting Kyoto."
Deci daca SUA ar munci cel mult atat cat se munceste in Europa, ar fi putut fi atins dezideratul de la Kyoto.
"If Americans chose to take advantage of their high level of productivity by shortening the workweek or taking longer vacations rather than producing more, there would follow a number of benefits.
Specifically, if the U.S. followed the EU-15 in terms of work hours, then:
• Employed workers would find themselves with seven additional weeks of time off.
• The United States would consume some 20 percent less energy.
• If a 20 percent energy savings had been directly translated into lower carbon emissions, then the U.S. would have emitted 3 percent less carbon dioxide in 2002 than it did in 1990. This level of emissions is only 4 percent above the negotiated target of the Kyoto Protocol. "
Dara Colwell, publicista pentru Alternet, a publicat la randul ei un material la 21 mai 2007 numit "Why Working Less is Better for the Globe", in care intalnim reactii fata de raportul CEPR. De pilda:
"*“We now seem more determined than ever to work harder and produce more stuff, which creates a bizarre paradox: We are proudly breaking our backs to decrease the carrying capacity of the planet,” says Conrad Schmidt, an internationally known social activist and
founder of the Work Less Party, a Vancouver-based initiative aimed at moving to a 32-hour work week—a radical departure from the in early, out late cycle we’ve grown accustomed to. “Choosing to work less is the biggest environmental issue no one’s talking about.”
* A backlash against overwork fatigue, the Work Less Party is one of a growing number of initiatives aimed at cutting work hours while tackling unemployment, environmentally unfriendly behavior and boosting leisure time. According to Schmidt, author of “Workers
of the World RELAX,” which examines the economics of reduced industrial work, working less would allow us to produce less, consume less, pollute less and—no complaints here—live more."
Intr-adevar, reducerea orelor de munca inseamna consum scazut, poluare scazuta, risipa de resurse sacazuta si mai mult timp liber, toate insumate intr-o viata mai lunga si mai sanatoasa.
Masura dezastrului uman si ecologic american
"Americans work more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world. According to the United Nations’ International Labor Organization, we work 250 hours, or five weeks, more than the Brits, and a whopping 500 hours, or 12 and a half weeks, more than the
Germans. So how does ecological damage figure in to the 40-plus workweek?
Do the math: Longer hours plus labor-saving technology equals ever-increasing productivity. Without high annual growth to match productivity, there’s unemployment. Maintaining growth means using more energy and resources, both in manpower and raw
materials, which results in increased waste and pollution.
Unsurprisingly, the United States is the world’s largest polluter. Housing a mere 5 percent of the world’s population, it accounts for 22 percent of its fossil fuel consumption, 50 percent of its solid waste, and, on average, each citizen consumes 53 times more goods than a person in China, according to the environmental nonprofit,
Iata unde a ajuns capitalismul american: cele mai lungi ore de munca din lumea industrializata, cea mai mare tara poluatoare din lume si, desi contine doar 5% din populatia mondiala, consuma enorme cantitati de resurse naturale, creand munti intregi de gunoaie.
Muncind mult, calitatea vietii scade, prosperand doar capitalistii
Evident, atunci cand mijloacele de productie sunt detinute doar de o minoritate, nu sociateta ca intreg beneficiaza de pe urma eforturilor exponential crescute la locul de munca, ci doar cativa oameni. care au tot interesul de a mentine acest ritm nebunesc, in detrimentul tuturor si al Planetei.
"Quoting data from his current campaign, “What’s the Economy for Anyway?” which examines America’s economic policies in light of quality of life issues, de Graaf says the evidence proves we’re not better off. “It’s staggering. The USA has declined relative to all other industrial countries in virtually every quality of life measured—health, equality, savings, sustainability—though that’s not so with the GDP and certainly not with the number of billionaires,” he says. “Yet we’re still constantly being told we’re better off.”
Yet suggest alternatives to the status quo of GDP worship, like shortening the work week, and resistance is great. “Here, the business community fiercely opposes any mandates relating to time,” says John de Graaf (producer of the groundbreaking 1997 PBS documentary “Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic” and a frequent speaker on issues of overwork and overconsumption), noting that by controlling or regulating time, they maintain the upper hand."
Pe scurt, scurtarea orelor de munca, in paralel cu schimbarea oranduirii sociale in care nu doar o minoritate beneficiaza primordial de pe urma muncii tuturor inseamna in primul rand o protectie mult mai eficienta decat in prezent a mediului inconjurator si o viata mai buna pentru toti.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Numarul de victime
"The United Nations' International Labor Organization has revealed some horrifying stats: The ILO estimates that approximately two million workers lose their lives annually due to occupational injuries and illnesses, with accidents causing at least 350,000 deaths a year.
For every fatal accident, there are an estimated 1,000 non-fatal injuries, many of which result in lost earnings, permanent disability and poverty. The death toll at work, much of which is attributable to unsafe working practices, is the equivalent of 5,000 workers dying
each day, three persons every minute.
This is more than double the figure for deaths from warfare (650,000 death* per year). According to the ILO's SafeWork programme, work kills more people than alcohol and drugs together and the resulting loss in Gross Domestic Product is 20 times greater than all official development assistance to the developing countries."
Asadar, conform Organizatiei Mondiale a Muncii, organism al Natiunilor Unite, aproximativ 2 milioane de muncitori isi pierd viata anual in lume, din cauza accidentelor de la locul de munca ori ca urmare a bolilor profesionale. O mare parte a acestor decese se explica prin conditiile nesigure de munca. Numarul de victime de la locul de munca este mai mult decat dublu decat numarul de victime de razboi, munca ucigand mai multi oameni decat consumul de alcool si droguri la un loc. Costurile pentru economie sunt de 20 de ori mai mari decat programele de asistenta oferite tarilor in curs de dezvoltare.
Situatia in SUA
"Each year, 6,570 US workers die because of injuries at work, while 60,225 meet their maker due to occupational diseases. (Meanwhile, 13.2 million get hurt, and 1.1 million develop illnesses that don't kill them.) On an average day, two or three workers are fatally shot, two fall to their deaths, one is killed after being smashed by a vehicle, and one is electrocuted. Each year, around 30 workers die of heat stroke, and another 30 expire from carbon monoxide."
Munca de birou nu e mai putin riscanta
"Although blue collar workers face a lot of the most obvious dangers, those slaving in offices or stores must contend with toxic air, workplace violence, driving accidents, and (especially for the
health-care workers) transmissible diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns that poisonous indoor air in nonindustrial workplaces causes "[t]housands of heart disease
deaths [and] hundreds of lung cancer deaths" each year."
Cate din aceste decese pot fi evitate? Conform raportului ILO "Safety Culture at Work",
"On the job accidents and illnesses annually take some 2 million lives and cost the global economy an estimated $1.25 trillion ($1,250,000 million US dollars), according to the International Labour Office (ILO). In a new report, "Safety Culture at Work", the ILO says this toll of accidental death and disease can be stopped if workers, employers and governments respect international safety standards.
"Injury and disease are not 'all in a day's work'", says ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. "Fatalities, accidents and illness at work can be prevented. We must promote a new 'safety culture' in the workplace - wherever work is done - backed by appropriate national policies and programmes to make workplaces safer and healthier for us all."
The new report reviews current knowledge about the toll of workplace illness, injury and death, which costs some $1.25 trillion ($1,250,000 million US dollars) in annual losses in global gross domestic product (GDP). The ILO said its estimate was based on a calculation that accidents and work-related illnesses cost some 4 per cent of annual GDP."
Cum poate fi oprit acest macel?Evident ca un raspuns simplu e greu de dat, insa reducerea orelor de lucru, micsorarea inegalitatilor dintre tarile bogate si cele in curs de dezvoltare si controlul sporit al muncitorilor asupra mijloacelor de productie sunt cateva rezolvari plauzibile.
Oricum in prezent din cauza tragediilor de la locul de munca se pierd miliarde intregi, asa ca mai bine le pierdem muncind mai putin decat murind la locul de munca. Scaderea pretentiilor materiale si consumului pot ajuta in aceeasi directie.
Muncitorii trebuie totodata sa aiba un control maxim la locul de munca, altfel, cat timp vor lucra pentru altii, e greu de crezut ca astfel de drame se vor imputina. De vazut, de pilda, cazul Carmen Olteanu, manager la o anume corporatie, care desi la un pas de moarte din cauza conditiilor si cerintelor abernate de munca, a fost tratata cu cruzime si cinism de angajatori.
Pe scurt, mentalitatea downshifting si ideologia egalitarista pot impiedica perpetuarea acestui genocid zilnic. Spre munca mai putina, spre egalitarism!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Canada recently had a major outbreak of E. coli bacteria in the water supply, and Hessing (1993) has noted pulp pollution problems throughout northwest Canada despite protective environmental legislation. Switzer (1994) has noted serious acid rain problems in parts of western Europe along with water and air pollution despite stringent regulatory standards. Most environmental legislation is simply inadequate largely because it attempts to regulate rather than eliminate deleterious behaviors.
The environmental movement worldwide finds itself in what is becoming a losing battle for a healthy planet. With projections of a world population growing to 8.9 billion by 2050, already warming temperatures, falling water tables, uncertainties in food security, declining oceanic fish catches, shrinking forests and accelerating flora and fauna species extinction (Brown 2000; French 2000a), our future prospects, if we continue doing business as usual, are bleak. Exacerbating the challenge to abating ecological degradation is the integration of a world-wide
economy around the interests of Transnational Corporations (TNCs); a process typically referred to as economic globalization.”
Afacerile private, ostile mediului inconjurator
Ironically, the ability to circumvent environmental regulation by private organizations is usually an option built into particular environmental policy implementation strategies. Private organizations can, through appeal options, litigate those regulations deemed too demanding. Where litigation is not an option, private organizations can simply ignore environmental regulations because of lenient or insignificant sanctions. Also, another strategy often employed by industry is „job blackmail”; Hessing describes this strategy by explaining that „the threat of large-scale industrial unemployment from plant closures, is invoked to counter or postpone efforts at more stringent regulatory practices” (1993:40).”
Capitalismul, opus in principiu sanatatii ecosistemului
Chambliss (1993) writes: The contradiction between exploiting the physical environment for maximum profit and destroying that environment to the eventual demise of the system (not to mention the people) creates conflicts between interest groups demanding change and owners attempting to maintain maximum profits and control. Ideology enters into justifying and protecting interests by arguing for the inherent morality of private ownership and private control of the profits derived therefrom. A resolution to the conflict emerges in the form of legislation that is in fact in the interests of the profit structure of the largest industrial firms and simultaneously placates the demands of those minority groups seeking state intervention in the industrial process (p. 20).”
Scopurile globalizarii capitaliste
downward harmonization of wages, environmental, worker and health standards and the undermining of democracy’s procedures and policies... Both NAFTA and GATT have actual provisions requiring harmonization of environmental, safety, food, and other standards... U.S. corporations long ago learned how to pit states against each other in ’a race to the bottom’ to profit from whichever state would offer the most miserable wages, the most lax pollution standards, and the lowest taxes. Now via NAFTA and GATT, multinational corporations can play this game at the global level (pp. 105-6).”,
Another way to think about our lifestyle is to compare the four to six hectares of land required to sustain one average person in a „developed” country to the 1.7 hectares of ecologically productive land available for each person on the planet (Robins 1999). One U.S. child does twice the ecological damage „of a Swedish child, three times that of an Italian child, thirteen times that of a Brazilian child, thirty-five times that of an Indian child, and 280 times that of a Chadian or Haitian child” (Kennedy 1993:32). Over consumption for the developed world happens because the „developed” world simply expropriates the resources of „less developed” countries through trade. Simply put, the richest 20 percent of the world’s population consumes 86 percent of all the goods and services and the poorest 20 percent consumes one percent (Human Development Report 1999:2).”
Imbecilitatea cresterii economice
Sustained economic growth is simply a myth. The world’s human population cannot all live like people in the top 20 percent without total devastation of the planet (Meadow, Meadows, and Randers 1992; Sachs 1996), and the people in the top 20 percent have to stop living in a fantasy. Korten (1995) argues that to „accept the reality of physical limits is to accept the need to limit greed and acquisition in favor of economic justice and sufficiency”; (p. 81). He goes on to
point out that „[g]rowth would have to give way to redistribution and reallocation of environmental resources as the focus of economic policy” (p. 81). The economy is no more independent from nature than we are.”
Without government intervention, resources tend to move from poor to rich and the pollution generated from the production and use of these resources moves from rich to poor. The disproportionate distribution of income and capital in the United States for African Americans, Latino Americans, and Native Americans, and the fact that they all possess a disproportionate share of pollution, is a clear indicator that free markets optimize resource allocation for the elite while leaving their waste behind for others (Bullard 1993; Fixico 1998; Gedicks 1998).
Also receiving more than their fair share of pollution are lower economic classes and least developed countries. Lawrence Summers, chief economist of the World Bank in 1991, stated in a memorandum that dirty industries should be encouraged to move to less developed countries. He based his logic on the fact that poor people have shorter life spans and less earning potential already. Therefore, his opinion, it makes sense for the rich countries to dispose of their toxic waste poor countries (Bullard 1993). Obviously, this is optimal resource allocation for elite people and nations, but it certainly is not for the economically powerless.”
With respect to wages, companies move to those countries that have the cheapest labor force. Take, for example, the auto industry: „U.S. autoworkers at union plants average $16.75 per hour, Mexicans take home the equivalent of $4.50 per day” (Bowden 1998:61). Almost one million Mexicans work in Maquiladoras (Robbins 1999); they earn between $3 and $5 a day (Bowden 1998).
Mexican prices along the border run 85 to 90 percent of U.S. prices, and most Maquiladoras are located on the border (Bowden 1998). The Maquiladoras create low paying jobs for young women and displaced small farmers who can no longer make money farming because government subsidies have been eliminated by free trade agreements, forcing small farmers to compete with U.S. agribusiness (Greider 1997). The horrendous working conditions and low wages that define the maquiladoras also define free trade assembly plants around the world, for instance, in Bangladesh, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Haiti, and many others (Robbins 1999). Of course, low wages and poor working conditions lead to lower prices and increased consumer choice for the consumers in the core industrial nations.
Goldsmith (1996) notes that „a 1993 random examination of twelve U.S.-owned plants showed that not one was in compliance with Mexican environmental law.”
Catastrofele aduse de privatizare
Colonizing nation-states have been forcing privatization of land and resources on indigenous peoples for 500 years and destroying ecologically sustainable communal existence in the process (Fixico 1998; Robbins 1999). Shiva (1989) has noted the effects of forced privatization on women in traditional cultures, which results in their displacement from the process of food production and ecologically sustainable communal relations with the land. Corporate colonizing and market ideology are now threatening public lands around the world.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have used austerity programs or structural adjustment programs to force debtor nations to cut back on all government programs and subsidies ranging from education to health care, agriculture to funding for national parks and public land use (Greider 1997; Rich 1994). Rich (1994) has gleaned from several studies that reducing agricultural subsidies has pushed „small-scale farmers into unsustainable practices, such as depleting lands they owned or expanding into tropical forest and other marginal areas”; (p. 187). He points out further that „[ilncreased social disparities and poverty precipitated by adjustment were a major cause of environmental degradation in themselves”.
Ultimele cuvinte ii apartin tot lui Seis:
Some of the repercussions are already underway with global warming, the most rapid rate of species extinction in 65 million years (French 2000a), and hosts of other problems ranging from declining fish populations to desertification, deforestation, bio-invasion, and hazardous wastes (French 2000a).