Keywords: ecological sustainability, steady-state economy, full employment, technological progress, green technologies, skills formation, workplace relations, competitive advantage, corporate management strategies
Environment, workplace, and employment: an introduction
A potential conflict has emerged between the desire to achieve ecological sustainability on the one hand and full employment on the other. The conflict exists because of the incongruent prescriptions being advised to resolve both problems – a reduced, if not zero, growth rate in the case of ecological sustainability, and a high growth rate in the case of full employment. Very little work has been undertaken to address this crucial issue and no forum specifically exists to deal with it. That is, until now, with the establishment of IJEWE. Its foremost aim is to reconcile the potential conflict between the sustainability and full employment objectives and to find ways to establish sustainable, equitable, and efficient economies. In dealing with this conflict, many other issues emerge – namely, the impact of the sustainability objective on industry structure, on forms of employment, on skills formation, on the workplace and workplace relations, on the development of 'green' technologies, on competitive advantage, and on corporate management strategies. Addressing these issues is a secondary but no less important aim of IJEWE. But all the above issues need to be tackled on the understanding that economic systems are subsystems of the natural environment upon which they depend; that systems of all types are subject to various physical laws and coevolutionary principles; and human well-being is dependent upon the adequate satisfaction of lower- and higher-order needs.