Rethinking Labour Rights in the Global Economy (SNSF Ambizione)

From Core Labour Standards to Freedom from Work

Can we continue to consume, produce and grow to provide enough work? So far, socialist and capitalist strategies have looked at providing enough work, targeting full employment under the right to work. Is this strategy sustainable in the global economy? This research discusses current shortcomings of existing labour strategies in the global economy and designs an alternative one consisting in expanding ‘freedom from work’. It looks at how to reduce the need to work out of economic necessity and how labour rights should be designed to contribute to this goal.

In this regard, it outlines traditional attempts to reduce the working week and to introduce a basic income and discusses whether they are feasible in the global economy. It shows that in order to expand freedom from work in a global economy, it is necessary to think beyond productivity and redistributive mechanisms and rethink the meaning and usefulness of ‘productive labour’. Ultimately, the goal of this research project is to design a new economic model, called human economy, based on the idea that most people on the planet must work to have certain capabilities and choices. If these capabilities were created more efficiently, most people on the planet would therefore need to work less to achieve them. In short, this framework rethinks the value of work and, consequently, the need to work for economic reasons.

This research project in international economic law, international labour and the history of economic thought is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione grant Nr 179971.

 

Introductory video

Publications

International Cooperation

  • Utopias and Labour Law, Labour Law Research Network (LLRN), 5th Conference, Call for Participants
  • Global Trade and Labour Rights, International Society for Labour and Social Security Law (ISLSSL), XXIII World Congress, ISLSSL World Congress(2020-2021)

Talks / Conference Presentations

  • Freedom from Work and Capabilitiies (XVth Law and Economics Annual Meeting, Italian Society of Law and Economics, University of Milan, November 2019)
  • Le droit du travail est-il émancipateur (Université de Bâle, Octobre 2019)
  • Keynote: Entre technologie et globalisation, quel avenir pour le travail? (Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften, Berne, Octobre 2019).
  • Technological Unemployment versus Technological Emancipation (Labour 2030, University of Porto, September 2019).
  • Productive Labour, Its Value, and Capabilities (6th Regulating for Decent Work Conference, International Labour Organization, Geneva, July 2019).
  • Rethinking the Value of Productive Labour (Centenaire de l'ILO, Université de Liège, March 2019).
  • Technology, Work and Freedom (Adapt IXth Conference, University of Bergamo, November 2018).
  • Freedom from Work: A Review of Ideas (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Berlin, November 2017).