This is part two of a piece reflecting on the Vienna degrowth conference and considering how to move forward based on the inputs and insights from the conference. You can read part one (focused on the conference) here. read more
Degrowth is a thriving academic field, but one without a home. It can be a struggle to publish degrowth-related articles in the current journal environment. If successful, authors must often surrender the ownership of their work to commercial journals. After more than a decade of degrowth research, and with a growing number of scholars engaged in the field, we believe the time has come to start our own journal. This blog post is an invitation to imagine how such a journal could be organised.read more
We, organizers and participants at the Degrowth Vienna 2020 conference demand equity and justice. We stand in solidarity with the people in the United States challenging white supremacist culture and with related global struggles. As activists, academics, artists, and practitioners we aim together to put an end to systemic oppression and structural racism; as again has been recently revealed by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or Ahmad Auber. The conference expresses its global solidarity with all victims of police violence and systemic racism, and supports the antifascist movements facing criminalization.read more
Thirty four years ago I published Abandon Affluence and Growth, with negligible effect, so it has been hugely satisfying to see the recent emergence of a degrowth movement. However, I believe some aspects of the movement need greater attention. Degrowth transition strategies especially should deal more effectively with the sheer magnitude of the problem we are facing.read more
New Roots for the Economy: academics, experts, artists, activists and organizations from around the world demand a farewell to our economy’s growth dependency to avoid further crises.read more
Technological pipe dreams and the fixation on perpetual growth have prevented effective climate policies for decades
“Happiness does not pay pensions”, said the Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos. The statement aimed to criticize the idea of a “post-growth” or “degrowth” society, which has received increasing attention in light of the climate crisis. The key to protecting the climate would be innovation, claimed the chancellor, while an end to economic growth would mean an end to the welfare state.
In the early 17th century, the bubonic plague is said to have played a crucial role in popping the tulip bubble in the Netherlands. Today, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is leading not only to a health crisis, but also an economic one. The outbreak is sparking realistic fears of a deep global downturn. Our globalised, just-in-time, cost-cutting, risk-taking and profit-maximising economy has shown a rather limited ability to absorb shocks. In a time of crisis, the instability and fragility, but also the inequality of the economic system becomes painfully obvious.read more
While the limits and failures of our current economic and political system are known and repetitively pointed out by degrowth research, we have a deficit in the area of strategic planning for transformative politics. What is missing are entry points for politicizing and changing social values, norms and institutions. To do this successfully, it is useful to detect how hegemonic values are embedded, not only in political and economic policies, but also in everyday life.
There’s lots of talk recently about the wealth of Jeff Bezos. There are maps comparing his wealth to entire countries, a “You are Jeff Bezos” game where you can spend his money on different things – like paying their fair-share of taxes, and a graphic that puts his wealth in perspective.read more
The annual World Economic Forum in Davos brought together representatives from government and business to deliberate how to solve the worsening climate and ecological crisis. The meeting came just as devastating bush fires were abating in Australia. These fires are thought to have killed up to one billion animals and generated a new wave of climate refugees. Yet, as with the COP25 climate talks in Madrid, a sense of urgency, ambition and consensus on what to do next were largely absent in Davos.
Last summer, Matthias Schmelzer and Andrea Vetter, both from the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie in Leipzig, published the book ‘Degrowth/Postwachstum’. With this book, they provide the first introduction to degrowth in German. For lack of a good German translation of ‘degrowth’ they use ‘Postwachstum’ more or less as a synonym. First they describe how our societies came to depend on growth, and they present various strands of criticism on growth. After that, they discuss definitions of degrowth, goals of the movement, they present concrete proposals, and discuss the strategy.
In the 1980s, cities were defined as the ‘growth machines’ of the economy (Molotch, 1976). Today, urban economists epitomize them as economic ‘triumphs’ (Glaeser, 2011). Cities, intended as dense and mixed forms of urban living organized in agglomerations of economic activities, are presented as the solution to many of contemporary socio-ecological problems. They are viewed as the location of the so called ‘energy transition’, ‘social innovation’ or the ‘clean economy of knowledge’.read more