Welcome to our blog. Here, you can find a variety of articles, from the relevance of degrowth in/for current affairs and contemporary political and social movements, until the impressions and news from events such as the international degrowth conference in Malmö in 2018. If you would like to comment on or contribute to the blog, please contact us at email@example.com.
In the spring of 2019, the Finnish degrowth network (kohtuusliike) undertook an election campaign. The aim of the campaign was to break the silence around degrowth ideas in political discourse. We were also curious to see how much support calls to limit production and consumption could generate within the ‘system’.
If making the degrowth case was like baking a cake, disproving the plausibility of green growth would be the equivalent of turning the oven on. Decoupling is only “a myth” or “a fantasy,” some would say, a notorious fallacy that requires as much attention as the confabulations of Flat Earthers. And yet, faith in decoupling is strengthening in environmental agendas all around the world, including the OECD, European Commission, World Bank, UNEP, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals where it even has its own target.read more
The time has come for ESEE to take a firmer stand and address the impossibility of tackling the monumental ecological crisis we are facing with partial solutions. In order to remain relevant ESEE needs to empower its members to speak the truth, confront power and focus their energies on finding meaningful, holistic and truly transformative solutions.read more
Saturday 1st June 2019 marked a significant occasion for the degrowth movement: the inaugural ‘Global Degrowth Day’. Groups of people gathered together in places all around the world to engage with ideas of degrowth and alternatives to our growth-based society, guided by the event’s theme of ‘a good life for all’.read more
Given the strategic indeterminacy of the degrowth movement that has been discussed in earlier articles within this series, we will consider the role that policy may play within the broader scope of a degrowth transformation and as one important focus within a plurality of movements. Specifically, working to move the focus of policy towards instruments that shift the rules of the competitive environment towards a more inclusive and sustainable mode of production, and away from an assumed need for economic growth, may be a significant point of leverage toward a degrowth transition. We are focusing on policy because a macroeconomic policy agenda for a post-growth economy, which is concrete and widely endorsed by the community, is a crucial foundation for achieving real change.read more
Among the proposals of how to address the climate crisis, calls for a Green New Deal (GND) have recently gained a lot of traction. Riccardo Mastini’s article laid out much of the content of current GND proposals as well as criticism from the degrowth perspective. While critical scrutiny is absolutely crucial to ensure that ideas for change truly live up to their goals it is also important to figure out if, and on what grounds, different movements can come together in their struggles. I will therefore take up Kallis’ (2019) conclusion and ask: ‘What about degrowth and a Green New Deal? The opponent is formidable and what we need are alliances, not divisions’.
Against the background of a looming ecological collapse and extreme socio-economic inequality, growth-critical scholars and activists debate various eco-social policies that can facilitate transitions towards genuinely environmentally sustainable and socially equitable societies. Such policies include work sharing, time-banks, job guarantees, complementary currencies and minimum income schemes. A policy that is frequently mentioned in the growth-critical literature, yet rarely discussed in any depth, is maximum limits (or caps) on wealth and income. Seen from a degrowth perspective, the attraction of such caps is not only that they could potentially pave the way for societies that are more equitable; it is also that they could hamper the ability of the richest individuals to lead ecologically harmful lifestyles by making them economically worse off. The latter is significant given that ‘the richest 1% may emit 30 times more than the poorest 50%, and 175 times more than the poorest 10%’.[i]read more
Since 2018, a coalition of grassroots environmental groups and progressive politicians in the United States have brought into the public debate the idea of a Green New Deal. The plan is inspired not only by Roosevelt’s New Deal, but also by the subsequent wartime mobilization in response to a large-scale threat. The difference is that this time around the threat is not represented by the Axis powers, but rather by runaway climate change.
Growth-critical authors and advocates of a post-growth society are often criticized on the grounds that some of their arguments appear open to appropriation by authoritarian nationalist and nativist racist forces. As such objections are often made in a polemical and overly generalised manner, often ultimately aiming to delegitimize growth-critical ideas as a whole, those being criticised often react with angry rejection. Nevertheless, supporters of Post-Growth and Degrowth are well advised to seriously reflext on whether and to what extent their own arguments are in fact amenable to such right-wing appropriation.
Two movements have emerged on either side of the Atlantic with the aim of transforming the economy in the U.S. and Europe –the new economy movement and the degrowth movement respectively. Both movements gained momentum after the financial crisis, and have since flourished nascent social movements composed of practitioners, academics, and activists loosely organized through informal networks and some organizational support. Both movements convene annual conferences that represent a hybrid of ideas and action, which capture their dual nature as movements pioneering alternative ideas but recognize the need to bring these alternatives to reality through action – activism, organizing, politics, grassroots initiatives, etc.read more
At the recent World Economic Forum (WEF), a gathering of business and political leaders in Davos, it was noteworthy that WEF Director, Klaus Schwab, attempted to integrate ‘time’ into his diagnosis of the ecological crisis. “Shorter terms of office cut time horizons for decision-makers. The urgent scientific message on climate change finds it hard to cut through the news cycle.”
A review of Giorgos Kallis’ new book
Although the number of publications about degrowth has been exploding in the last decade – with hundreds of articles as well as dozens of edited volumes and special issues already published – until now there had not been a single academic monograph systematically outlining what degrowth is all about. Of course, the broad contours of the concept of degrowth have been presented in several oft-cited articles and introduced in edited books or special issues. And with Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era which has been translated in more than ten languages, the newly emerging degrowth spectrum of academics, activists and practitioners in Europe and around the world has settled on something resembling a definitive book. However, this edited volume explicitly did not provide a systematic, let alone coherent introduction, but rather a pluriverse of terms and concepts that are key to forming various degrowth visions.read more
The Support Group of the International Conferences on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity met in Villarceaux, outside Paris, at the end of January. It was decided that the 7th International Degrowth Conference will take place in Manchester at the beginning of September 2020.
On March 15th 2019 a global climate strike organized by Fridays for Future took place in over 100 countries around the world, mobilizing over 1 million students to the streets. We asked 3 people from Vienna involved in different streams of the Austrian climate justice movement to share their perspectives on the event.