This book argues that society must rethink the notion of formal employment and instead introduce and spread the notion of "meaningful work" so that societies can become independent of economic growth. 

The excessive consumption of natural resources and the immense emissions resulting from our growth-oriented economic system surpass the planetary boundaries. Despite this, society and the economy still strive for economic growth in order to generate jobs, to finance the social security system and to assure tax income. However, these expectations are increasingly unrealistic, not least because technological developments such as digitalisation and robotisation will change and limit formal employment opportunities as well. Against this backdrop, the book introduces the notion of meaningful activities that embrace various kinds of work, paid and unpaid, sequential or in parallel, which are meaningful for the worker as well as society as a whole. At the same time, the authors argue in favour of reduced working time in formal employment. Furthermore, the book also describes the necessary transformations in companies and for consumers, for social and tax systems, for social services and agriculture.  

Innovative and timely, this book will be a key resource for professionals and scholars interested in sustainability, economics, work, transformation and post-growth studies.

part |15 pages


chapter 1|13 pages

Employment, meaningful activity and the post-growth society

ByIrmi Seidl, Angelika Zahrnt

part Part 1|38 pages

The basics

chapter 2|14 pages

On the historical development of work

ByAndrea Komlosy

chapter 3|10 pages

Value orientation and meaningful activity in the post-growth society

ByErnst Fritz-Schubert

chapter 4|12 pages

Revaluations of work

Enabling and combining a diversity of activities
ByStefanie Gerold

part Part 2|50 pages

Employment and meaningful activities

chapter 5|15 pages

The role of consumers

Social participation beyond work and the market
ByCorinna Fischer, Immanuel Stieß

chapter 6|13 pages

The role of businesses in the creation of sustainable work

ByGerrit von Jorck, Ulf Schrader

chapter 7|12 pages

Employment in the tension between ecology and distributive justice

The role of trade unions
ByNorbert Reuter

chapter 8|8 pages

Voluntary charitable activity

Motivation, requirements, accomplishments
ByTheo Wehner

part Part 3|42 pages

Employment and meaningful activities

chapter 9|15 pages

Formal and informal care work *

ByJonas Hagedorn

chapter 10|12 pages

Meaningful activities in agriculture

Agro-culture as a guiding principle
ByFranz-Theo Gottwald, Irmi Seidl, Angelika Zahrnt

chapter 11|13 pages

Digitalisation and concepts of extended work

ByLinda Nierling, Bettina-Johanna Krings

part Part 4|51 pages

The socio-economic context

chapter 12|11 pages

Social security in the post-growth society

ByGisela Kubon-Gilke

chapter 13|16 pages

An employment-friendly tax system

ByAngela Köppl, Margit Schratzenstaller

chapter 14|22 pages

Work in low- and middle-income countries

ByGeorg Stoll

part |8 pages


chapter 15|6 pages

The prospects for practical action

ByIrmi Seidl, Angelika Zahrnt