Global Forum on Democratizing Work: Three panels on Democratize, Decarbonize and Decommodify

in Context
October 5, 2021 14:30 - 16:30

From October 5 to 7, 2021, as part of the Global Forum of the international initiative #democratizingwork we discussed the topics of “democratization”, “decommodification” and “decarbonization” of work in more detail with journalists, academics, activists and trade unionists on three different online panels.

This follows on from our In Context series of events on the democratization of work, which we started last year in November 2020 with three of the main initiators of the initiative #democratizingwork.  Last May, #democratizingwork emerged with a call signed by more than 3,000 scholars* that took the Corona pandemic as an occasion to call for a more just design of the current world of work. Under the keywords “democratization”, “decommodification” and “decarbonization” of work, the initiators argue for: 1. giving work councils the same voting rights as supervisory boards, 2. distributing and organizing work not exclusively as a commodity and via market mechanisms, but by creating a job guarantee, and 3. implementing these goals in line with a “Green Deal” that takes into account the current ecological challenges.


Online panel on October 5, 2.30pm-4.30pm: On the first day of the Global Forum, Manuela Bojadžijev, Julia Fritzsche and Hans-Christoph Schmidt am Busch discussed the question of democratization of work. This panel focused in particular on the extent to which the demand for democratization of the workplace and businesses is linked to a broader demand for democratization of the economy, and what such a demand would entail.
The panel was chaired by Lea Prix.

Online panel on October 6, 2.30pm-4.30pm: On the second day of the Global Forum, Lisa Herzog, Oliver Nachtwey and Thomas Seibert discussed the question of the decommodification of work. This panel focused in particular on the extent to which the call for the decommodification of labor goes hand in hand, on the one hand, with a practice of economics that is oriented towards needs and, on the other hand, brings into play issues of deliberation and decision-making that transcend national borders. The panel discussed these issues, particularly in the context of the supply chain phenomenon.
The panel was chaired by Rahel Jaeggi.

Online Panel on October 7, 2.30pm-4.30pm: On the third and last day of the Global Forum, Dirk Ehnts and Hans-Jürgen Urban discussed the issue of decarbonization of labor. This panel focused in particular on the question of how a sustainable transformation of the economy can be designed in a socially acceptable way without pitting the ecological crisis and the social question against each other.
The panel was chaired by Christian Schmidt.




Manuela Bojadžijev is Professor of Globalized Cultures at the Faculty of Cultural Studies at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Vice-Director of the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM) at Humboldt University Berlin. She is involved in numerous research projects around the topics of work, migration and digitalization. Most recently, she published the monograph “Die windige Internationale: Rassismus und Kämpfe der Migrationfür Globalisierte Kulturen an der Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg.”.

Dirk Ehnts is a Political Scientist, Economist and Representative of Modern Monetary Theory. He is board spokesman of the Pufendorf-Gesellschaft für politische Ökonomie e. V. in Berlin, also a member of the Institute for International Political Economy (IPE) Berlin and co-author of the Green New Deal for Europe. Most recently, he published the monograph “Modern Monetary Theory and European Macroeconomics” and “Geld und Kredit: eine €-päische Perspektive”.

Julia Fritzsche is an Author and Journalist. She has received numerous awards for her work. Her most recently published book “Tiefrot und Radikal Bunt” is a plea for a new left-wing narrative that is concerned with living and working in a way that is oriented toward people’s needs rather than their usability.

Lisa Herzog is Associate Professor at the Center for Philosophy, Politics and Economics of the University of Groningen and one of the main initiators of the initiative #democratizingwork. In her book “Die Rettung der Arbeit. Ein politischer Aufruf” Herzog argues for a political shaping of the present and future world of work that understands work as an essential source of social integration.

Oliver Nachtwey is Professor of Social Structure Analysis at the University of Basel. He conducts research on the transformation of work and social modernization and their influence on social structure. For his monograph “Die Abstiegsgesellschaft. Über das Aufbegehren in der regressiven Moderne”, he has received several awards. His most recent publication, together with Ulrich Brinkmann, was “Postdemokratie und Industrial Citizenship. Erosionsprozesse von Demokratie und Mitbestimmung “.

Hans-Christoph Schmidt am Busch is Professor of Philosophy at the Technical University of Braunschweig. His research topics are in the fields of political, social and legal philosophy, as well as the philosophical foundations and history of economics. For many years, a special focus of his research has been on the topic of work and recognition. Most recently, he published the monograph “Was wollen wir, wenn wir arbeiten? Honneth, Hegel und die Grundlagen der Kritik des Neoliberalismus.”

Thomas Seibert is a Philosopher, Author and Activist and has been working for the aid and human rights organization medico international for many years. In addition to numerous other publications, his most recent monograph is “Zur Ökologie der Existenz. Freedom, Equality, Environment”.

Hans-Jürgen Urban is a member of the executive board of IG-Metall and as such responsible for social policy as well as labor organization and qualification policy, on which he has also published numerous articles. His most recent publication is the monograph “Gute Arbeit in der Transformation. Über eine eingreifende Politik im digitalen Kapitalismus“.


Global Forum on Democratizing Work: Three panels on Democratize, Decarbonize and Decommodify