• The commons of the environment
• (public goods management)
• The role of civil society in the green economy
• Individual sectors of green entrepreneurship
• The energy communities
• the link of green entrepreneurship
with the social economy
• The green economy is based on the concept of sustainability as well as that of sustainability in relation to the environment.
• Treats the environment as a vital pillar of economic activity, but also of the sustainability of society.
• It is based on the combination of innovation, research and new technologies in a new model of economic development.
• The green economy proclaims the adoption of measures for climate change, the reduction of pollutants that enhance the greenhouse effect, better energy management as well as the use of Renewable Energy Sources.
• Green entrepreneurship emerges and develops through the green economy.
THE OBJECT OF GREEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP
• The renewable natural resources that, in contrast to the non-renewable ones, e.g. (fossil fuels), can be used without negative effects on the environment, i.e. have a sustainable use.
• It is an emerging form of economic activity, based primarily on vital needs related to the quality of life and the environment, and constitutes a business branch with a wide scope.
• The most characteristic examples of application concern the exploitation of protected areas (eg Natura areas) as poles of green development.
• The production and sale of organic farming and animal husbandry products, but also in the development of eco-tours and eco-tourism
• At the same time, it emphasizes the management of natural resources and waste, recycling and “green infrastructure”.
• Investing in environmentally friendly transport that will reduce emissions. A typical example here is the automotive sector.
AREAS OF GREEN BUSINESS ACTIVITY
In the field of green energy with cutting edge energy communities, public-municipal buildings and schools can be utilized, for energy self-sufficiency of Municipalities, but also to create a living example in each Municipality to organize citizens and households in cooperative energy production and to save significant resources.
Using Photovoltaics, Household Cogeneration of Electricity & Heat, Air Conditioning – Natural Cooling – Lighting
– Using Solar Electricity (for heating – cooling environment & water).
– energy saving lamps.
– Constructing new buildings bioclimatically and fixing old ones to be as energy-efficient as possible.
In the housing sector, choosing naturally recyclable materials that are compatible, friendly and do not burden the environment such as:
Ø Stone-wood: as long as it is a product of “sustainable forest management”
Ø Ceramics: Utensils – covers,.
Ø Ecological Construction with: ecological plasters, insulation, correct water pipes, doors, wiring, ecological paints, etc.
Ø By utilizing at least half of household waste with household composters
Ø With the green roofs and the green open spaces of the apartment buildings.
Ø By creating small autonomous biological purifications.
In the field of nutrition, by buying and consuming organic products (always with labeling), reducing meat consumption by replacing pre-cooked and highly preserved foods, with as fresh as possible and less “traveled” until they reach our table, we give a strong push to green agriculture and organic products.
In the field of health, we know that prevention is better than cure. By preventing through diet, limiting smoking, alcohol and other harmful chemicals.
· By replacing chemical drugs and pesticides and the possibilities with the use of ecotherapeutic methods and preparations.
· In alternative ways that promote Health (Holistic treatment – without drugs)
· With the Ecological way of driving (walking – cycling = Health – Good Physical Condition.
In the field of packaging, replacing plastic packaging and bags with organic and recyclable packaging.
In the field of recycling, collecting waste in bins, promoting home composting. In tourism, choosing places that highlight ecotourism, agritourism and local organic products, hotels and shops with green specifications, promoting green tourism with the lowest impact on environment.
GREEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN CITIES
• In front of the environmental impasse of big cities, there is the vision of “green cities”, a realistic way out to change the direction of investments and the consumption pattern.
• It is directly linked to the green demand for healthy and beneficial products and services, to the development of renewable energy sources and eco-management of water, to bioclimatic buildings and energy saving, to the policy of “green cities” and recycling with the eco-protection of forests and the sea. With the claim for a clean environment and health.
The benefit is thus twofold. On the one hand we have an active promotional process for the protection of the environment and on the other hand green development that ensures the sustainability of ecosystems.
• The horizontal cooperation of social networks and environmental organizations with T.A. it is the key to succeed both in the case of eco-protection and green entrepreneurship.
• Green entrepreneurship without the participation of the local community is deficient. It limits human resources, driving forces and the ultimate benefit to the local community.
• Green resources and policies cannot be mobilized to a sufficient extent if local communities and local government are not mobilized to “cultivate” the ground for both demand and entrepreneurship in this direction.
URBAN ENVIRONMENT AND GREEN BUSINESS
• A key area is spatial planning and “green” bioclimatic buildings
• The contribution of greenery and plant cover to the need for energy upgrading and limiting energy consumption is very important.
• Energy saving by reducing the thermal burden of buildings through the absorption of solar radiation, the improvement of the microclimate, the filtering of a large part of the pollutants are mentioned as examples.
• The utilization and management of the surrounding area of the buildings as green areas upgrades the aesthetic and utilitarian value of the constructions, improves the microclimate and leads, among other things, to environmental and energy benefits.
• The technology of building planted roofs (green roofs) as well as vertical gardens (green walls) in new as well as old buildings, gives the possibility of increasing the building and total urban greenery.
• THE LAND OF SCARCITY AND THE SUN OF PLENTY
The breach in the paradigmatic model comes from the developments as we said in the field of energy. From the abundance and free energy of the Sun against the scarcity of the earth’s energy resources. The energy landscape changes when local communities and municipalities gain energy autonomy in the context of 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 participative and is constituted by the cooperative producers and consumers and by the use of fixed assets belonging to the community. The work is on a piece-rate basis and the remuneration is according to the deliverables. Thus labor costs are adjusted according to performance. There cannot be late wages like the public sector. The benefit is often in the provision of goods and not in money as is the case in energy communities.
WHAT DRIVES GREEN BUSINESS
• Green entrepreneurship is first of all driven by the urgent need to deal with climate change and the transition from fossil fuels to mild and renewable energy sources.
• Green entrepreneurship which is the driving force to have a sustainable urban environment.
• The growing market demand for green products and services.
• The moral advantage of green entrepreneurship towards every form of life.
• The application of new advanced green technologies that offer advantages to green entrepreneurship investors.
• The environmental impasse of big cities and the vision of green cities.
• The pressure for sufficient clean drinking water for the growing population and growing crops.
• The impasse of the overconsumption of chemical drugs and pesticides and the need, but also the possibilities that exist for the use of ecotherapeutic methods and preparations.
WHAT PREVENTS ITS DEVELOPMENT
• In principle, the consolidated investments and concentration of capital in polluting sectors of the economy, which acts as a confederacy and deterrent for investments in green entrepreneurship (e.g. fossil fuels).
– The logic of easy profit that does not consider the cost of protecting the ecosystem.
– Ignorance of the benefits that green technologies often offer for investors.
– The bureaucratic obstacles for the introduction of new technologies, as we had for example for the spread of photovoltaics.
– The lack of serious motivation for for infrastructure investments in green entrepreneurship.
– The lack of a new organizational culture, as happens for example in agricultural production where farmers hardly change their crops even though they could be replaced with more efficient ones that do not burden the environment.
Andreas N. Lytras
Autonomous Workers for Combating Unemployment
and the Enhancement of Solidarity
Four “Dead Ends” of Employment and two Synergized Solutions
I would like to thank the INMEKO, for the invitation and its trust to my research. I know well, and I definitely respect the analytical estimations, the strategic positions, and the trend to the continuous activism of the Institute (and, especially of Vassiles Taktikos).
I understand, of course, the approaches of INMEKO for the conditions and trends in employment. The main approach of INMEKO is that employment and especially wage employment is at a “dead end” in the present harsh situation. The only way out, according this view, is the alteration of the individual and the social strategy, for the work inclusion. The development of social economy is the, absolutely, only option for the absorption of unemployed people in employment. Beyond the special arguments of INMEKO, we could recognize some of the realities, which can enforce the claim for an alternative on the creation dissent jobs and incomes, within the environment of a broader social economy in modern society.
1 Insurmountable problems for the absorption of wage earners in employment
We could glean, at least, four insurmountable problems (as burdens), within employment in modern advanced countries, for a further dynamic absorption of wage earners. We are going to watch briefly these problems.
1.1 The first problem: The reduction of enterprises with employees
The first problem is the steady reduction of enterprises with employees, worldwide. The door of the right for an entrepreneurial career is closed for the majority of young people, too. The startups pull over few steps after their launching very close to or only on the limit of own-account workers, within modern economy. The procedure is very long (by a time view) and looks like an unchangeable one. How can we make enough jobs for young people (if we make the exception of state’s institutions, too)?
The next two graphs demonstrate the current (the two decades of the 21st century) situation in the basic core of entrepreneurship, according the relative data from OECD.
Source: OECD, Enterprises by business size, 1-9 persons employed/10-19 persons employed/20-49 persons employed, Number, Annual, 2020, https://data.oecd.org/chart/6OjT, https://data.oecd.org/entrepreneur/enterprises-by-business-size.htm.
Source: Source: OECD, Enterprises by business size, 1-9 persons employed/10-19 persons employed/20-49 persons employed, Number, Annual, 2020, https://data.oecd.org/chart/6OjT, https://data.oecd.org/entrepreneur/enterprises-by-business-size.htm.
We observe a clear decrease of the number of enterprises with employees, within the previous comparison, worldwide. There is only one exception, namely the case of UK, to the above global trend. The ratio, namely the number (it includes UK, too) of enterprises with employees per million inhabitants is extremely low, in the western world (with the exception of Greece in this field of comparison). The field of profitable enterprises is not exactly the optimistic “place” for the development of productive creativity, in the near future of the western world. The profitable private enterprises cannot guarantee the necessary increase of employment, in short term. In long term “we are all dead”.
1.2 The second problem: The small percentage of employers
The second problem is a close relative of the first problem and regards the continuous reduction of numbers and percentages of employers (of course) for a long term, too. The strong beliefs to the potential of entrepreneurship are crashing on this reality of economic conditions and the situations of employment. Here, we are going to show the data from ILO (ILOSTAT, Database).
Source: ILO, ILOSTAT (Database).
Employers’ analogies (%) suffer under a harsh pressure. The employers represent an extremely low percentage of employment and there isn’t any real exception to this indication. The small group of employers has had and has, during the present period, the same trend of decrease. We have to pay a special attention to the cases of UK, Japan and USA: a) The employers in UK, after a rather long period of steady decrease, represent, the last years before the Covid19’s crisis, a percentage of just 2,06% (2018); b) The employers in Japan, after a period of decrease, represent, the last years before the Covid19’s crisis, a percentage of just 1,92% (2018); c) The sum of employers and own account workers (the model of the collection of data is a special choice of the administration) in USA, after a much longer (than in the other two previous cases) period of decrease, represents a total percentage of 6,22%. We can probably assume that the special percentage of employers in USA moves among 1,92% (Japan) and 2,06% (UK). This is, of course and definitely, a hypothesis. There isn’t any real opportunity for young people to participate in entrepreneurship. The previous generation has closed that luxurious door.
1.3 The third problem: The employees (wage earners) touch the ceiling
We learn many myths around the fate of human labour (the most common is the next: technology and automation are going to reduce the need for human work and then for wage labour). The only confirmed side of those known myths is the already fullness of employment, in some of the advanced countries. It is, definitely, metaphysical the using of more human labour in a pool (the status of employees which covers the extremely big majority of employment) which is already or nearly full.
In the next graph, we can see the long trends of wage labour in a global scale. The employees (the wage earners) touch, definitely, the ceiling of absorption in employment, in all the advanced western countries. The percentages of employees are close to, or over of, 85% of the total employment, in the wealthier countries. In the more privileged of them (France, Germany, Japan) are very close to, or over of, 90%. In USA, the same percentage touches the 94% (93,74%).The other countries follow rapidly the trend of pioneers. There aren’t any real opportunities, as a general phenomenon, in the advanced countries, for good and high wage jobs. The only opportunity there is for flexible (part-time) and low wage jobs. The proper candidates are the unskilled (or semi-skilled) people, without any experience (or with a little experience). There is a selective opportunity for an extremely (then it makes no sense for the work force) small minority for a minor number of prominent jobs. The competition for them is absolutely hard.
Source: ILO, ILOSTAT (Database).
1.4 The forth problem: The unemployment
Unemployment is one of the most painful problems of our age. For some countries (Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal) is even more an indication of malfunction of capitalism. For some certain reasons (it is not the right time to discuss them now) the resolutions and especially the fiscal choices of the responsible institutions of monetary policy, in Euro zone, were worse than the problem itself. The choices for the deflation, in these countries, have made large unemployment unavoidable.
Unemployment: General Level (%)
Source: ILO, ILOSTAT (Database).
Source: ILO, ILOSTAT (Database).
Source: ILO, ILOSTAT (Database).
Unemployment and unemployment rate is definitely a cyclical phenomenon of labour force, during the middle time term. Unemployment and Inflation have an absolutely reverse relationship. During the phases of “controlled inflation” (by fiscal policy), a relative larger inflation contributes to a relative shorter rate of unemployment (see, Appendix 1). Unemployment rate, in countries with serious fiscal problems is much larger and continuous, in the long run. There is a serious delay after the new phase of economic development for the real decrease of unemployment rate. The unemployment of the young people (15-24 years old) is larger or much larger than the national annual unemployment rate, in every country. The difference is huge. The women’s unemployment rate in advanced countries is usually smaller than the national annual unemployment rate and the men’s unemployment rate. In Greece, Italy and Portugal we observe the reverse phenomenon: Women’s unemployment rate is larger or much larger.
2 A radical solution for combating unemployment
There are some publications (Lytras 2016; 2017; 2020) recently on a radical program for combating unemployment. The program is named Reconciliation of the Holding of Stock with the Employment and New Activation in Regions (Re.Ho.St.E.N.A.R.).
The aforementioned program is radical and has many innovations, but there are intellectual loans from the known policies of the past [the J.M. Keynes’s model, the model of Employer of Last Resort (H.P. Minsky), and the workfare (welfare-to-work) system [(Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act – PRWORA – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families -TANF)]. The J.M. Keynes’s model contributes by two ways in this proposition. The first element regards the role of aggregate demand for combating unemployment and the creation of jobs. In the new proposal the concrete attempt is based on the creation of jobs and the sureness of the further mobilization by the incomes, which are expected to be created, for the necessary development. The second element is the conception of the single and coordinated method of financing of the policy for combating unemployment. The state and the specialized public institutions, in our proposition, have the power and the means to co-finance and coordinate the future policy, in a new form of combination between private and public sector. The model of Employer of Last Resort (H.P. Minsky) gives the idea of a single mechanism of intervention for effective combating unemployment and a framework of the total amounts of needed funds for this policy, while it has the guarantee of an achievement in the case of Argentina. The proposed policy respects the above characteristics, but rearranges the problem of public funding, with a new synthesis. We repeat that the needed capitals are in a major part private and in minimal part public grants. Therefore, there is no need for using the typical fiscal tools for the extensive public funding of the process. Meanwhile, the state is not the future employer of last resort, but a useful coordinator from the first to the last minute. The workfare (welfare-to-work) system contributes equally to the conception of the proposal. The synthesis of benefits with the obligation of work gave to our critical perception. In fact the concrete model gave some useful limits for the content of the difficult solutions, in a society and a political system, with negative correlations and strict doubts to any expensive measure and any tolerance to “laziness” of the beneficiaries by public policies. Additionally, the regional organization of the implementation of the system with flexibility directs the proposed alternative policy. We have to accept, that the title of program has its origins from the name of the B. Clinton’s Program [(Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act – PRWORA) – (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families -TANF)].
In Re.Ho.St.E.N.A.R., the new type of workers, the autonomous workers (from the official pool of the unemployed people), with the addition of a security/coupon (which serves as an instrument of the procedure), are paid partly by the capital, and partly by the consumer of services (in a serial of repetitive actions with different mixtures of payment). The workers of a new type offer their paid services (specialized or unskilled), with the sole remuneration an analogy of the value, which is included in the aforementioned security. The security includes the relative tax and the contributions to the social security system.
The initial financing belongs to the holders of capital. Their economic interest contributes, without any business risk, to the participation in the program. The holders of the stock are selected following a call for proposals. The holders of the stock deposit for twelve months their capital in a common account of the commercial banks. They are the initial financiers of the project. For this financing they are entitled to the agreed special rate of bank interest, under which they collect the respective amount from the banks at the end of the contractual period and the agreed dividend from the yields of the program process, in ten months (after a twelve months period).
The nation-state and EU co-finance with the monthly replacement of the withdrawals of deposited capitals, which fund (initially but partly) the aforementioned securities. Practically, the total public financing is equal to the value of the deposited capital, during the period of the program. This total value of public grants and therefore public spending is partly returnable. The value of taxes and contributions to the social security system replaces the major part of public spending.
The consumers are the basic financiers of the program, because they contribute with the major part of its budget. Consumers are benefited from this process and enjoy a large variety of services. They buy these services with great flexibility depending on their needs or their tastes. The purchase of services from the program is clearly for the consumers an act of social and community solidarity. But the trend for solidarity synergizes with the active and realistic economic relationship, namely without claiming the complete change of economic behavior. The drive to solidarity, through the regular market behavior, alters the social and community solidarity in an economically effective reality.
The program: Re.Ho.St.E.N.A.R. is simple and feasible in every country, with a free-market economy. It is possible, that its economic plan looks extremely optimistic, but there are all the indications for a realistic implementation. Take a look at the next two Graphs. The first regards the countries, with low income. The second regards the countries with high income.
Budget for Combating Unemployment
[for Countries with Low Income (GDP)]
Source: Lytras 2020, p. 162.
Budget for Combating Unemployment
[for Countries with High Income (GDP)]
We need only the logical choice, the strong political decision and the day to day efforts in every different country. It is a difficult attempt, like any serious action, in modern world, but we definitely can do it. The first result is a positive shock in employment (with the fast and effective reduction of unemployment rate), as well as in the incomes creation and their distribution. The second future result will be the “lack” of unemployed people for the enterprises in function. The third future result will be the increase of wages of the already wage earners. The forth future result is the limitation (implementation with fewer beneficiaries) of Re.Ho.St.E.N.A.R., as an organized answer to the unavoidable pressure for the increase of inflation. At that time, of course, unemployment will be an absolutely resolved problem.
2.2 Autonomous workers for boosting co-operatives
The development of Social Economy is the INMEKO’s (Institute for the Studies of the Social Economy) crucial target, within the European Union and the Euro zone. My analysis respects the target of INMEKO and elaborates the synergy of the program Re.Ho.St.E.N.A.R., with our common target for the enhancement of co-operatives.
2.2.1 Selective Affinities
The autonomous workers (of the previous program) are very similar to the own-account workers (according to the definition of ILO). The members of co-operatives are, definitely, own-account workers (according to the definition of ILO). The similarity of both the statuses, the beneficiaries of the program for combating unemployment and the members of co-operatives is obvious and compatible. The rather lower cost of the beneficiaries creates the potential for the special using of their (possibly) collective force, in the different kinds of co-operatives (producers’ co-operatives, consumers’ co-operatives, co-operative banks, mutual social security funds, communities for the production of energy etc.). The co-operatives, then, are going to have the role of some of the consumers, during the activation of Re.Ho.St.E.N.A.R.
2.2.2 Aspirations and Synergies
The using of work of the beneficiaries reduces the labour cost of co-operatives, without the creation of any permanent commitment. The co-operatives enhance their activities and economic results, during the employment of the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries learn to produce collectively, while they are autonomous workers. The autonomous workers could have, additionally to the necessary professional experience, the experience to make businesses in a field of legal entrepreneurship, with democratic organization and social care for the community. The enforcement of the co-operatives, by this method, enriches the entrepreneurship, while the profitable enterprises have not the proper number and analogy for the absorption of unemployed people, in the modern society.
2.2.3 Targets of the action
The using of work of the beneficiaries helps the expansion of own-account workers as a part of labour force in co-operatives. They are very similar to the owners of co-operatives. A new culture of labour’s cooperation can be born. The co-operatives with the cheaper and available work could expand rapidly their analogy (%) of the value of production, within the national economies. According to our projections, a percentage near to 15%, in five years term, to 22%, in 8 years term, and finally to 25% of the GDP is achievable (within a ten years time term). Under the abovementioned conditions, the absorption of unemployment could be more close to the needs of local and national society, and immediate. I am confident that the combination of the certain method for combating unemployment and the enhancement of co-operatives, in free-market societies, can make unemployment a problem of the past.
[The Congress of the United States] (1996). Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act- PRWORA. Public Law 104-193, Aug. 22.
ILO (2020). Unemployment rate by sex and age — ILO modeled estimates, Nov. 2020 (%). Last update on 14MAR21.
ILO (2018), ILOSTAT. Unemployment 1991-2017 (http://www.ilo.org).
ILO (2019), ILOSTAT. Employment by Status in Employment 1991-2017 (http://www.ilo.org)_ Aug. 4, 2019.
Keynes, J.M. [2007 (1936)]. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. London, Macmillan.
Lytras, A.N. (2016). An alternative for combating unemployment. Journal of Sociology and Social Work,4 (2), pp. 59-71.
Lytras, A.N. (2017a). A radical policy for combating unemployment. The future network: Autonomous workers, stock holders, consumers and the state. Athens: Papazissis Publishers (eBook).
Lytras, A.N. (ed.) (2017b). Combating Unemployment during the Age of Crisis (in Greek). The Socials. Selections from Greek Sociology. Athens: Panteion University
Lytras, A.N. (2020). A radical policy for combating unemployment. The future network: Autonomous workers, stock holders, consumers and the state. Athens: Papazissis Publishers.
Minsky, H.P. [2008 (1986)]. Stabilizing an Unstable Economy. New York, McGraw-Hill.
OECD (2020), Enterprises by business size, 1-9 persons employed/10-19 persons employed/20-49 persons employed, Number, Annual, 2020, https://data.oecd.org/chart/6OjT, https://data.oecd.org/entrepreneur/enterprises-by-business-size.htm.
by Vasilis Taktikos