3 questions to Laurent Berger, co-author of “Reinventing progress”

Published on 22 May 2017

After conducting our Friday Lunch Meeting on May 5th, Laurent Berger, General Secretary of the CFDT, author of the book “Reinventing progress” written with Pascal Canfin, agreed to respond to 3 questions from the Chair…


What place for environment in “Reinventing progress”?

To write a book on progress was not possible without taking fully into account the Energy and Ecological transitions. Our old growth model is broken. We know that we are living on a planet with limited resources and that we are far beyond its limits. Either, we end up thinking that tomorrow’s world will be harder, more chaotic, or we make the choice not to undergo and reinvent our vision of progress. Ecology is an opportunity to get out of old logics that we do not want anymore (short-termism, productivism…) because it has exhausted both environment and workers. It is a real chance to overhaul our development model and live better.


Ecological transition, a lever or a major hurdle to social progress?

Ecological transition success necessarily involves taking into account social issues, employees future and more widely citizens aspirations. No effort will be accepted if we do not build a more just society where everybody find their place. With the new climate constraints, jobs will be lost however many others will be created. Workers must be accompanied in this mutation, be given the means to be trained in order for everyone to take part in this evolution and that nobody be excluded. To deal with these new realities, it is our entire social model that needs to be strengthened. Ecological revolution and social progress go hand in hand. Transition must not be a luxury for some but progress for all.


What do you expect from climate economic researchers?

The trade unionist role is to ensure that the expected developments (technical, financial, economic…) are socially fair. It is important not to dissociate the research, scientific issues and social issues. What impact will have innovation on employment, working conditions, health, and workers safety? Is taxation fair through its levying and distribution process, isn’t it increasing the inequalities a little more? These are issues to consider if we want that the energy and ecological transitions attract the maximum number of people.