Blog

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 joelle@degrowth.info.



A Green New Deal beyond growth (II) – Some steps forward

By Elena Hofferberth

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’.

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Maximum limits on income and wealth? A degrowth perspective

By Hubert Buch-Hansen and Max Koch

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

A Green New Deal beyond growth

By Riccardo Mastini

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.

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A dangerous courtship: The authoritarian nationalist right and the post-growth debate

By Dennis Eversberg

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.

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Transformative economics on both sides of the Atlantic – Comparing the new economy movement and degrowth movement

By Nathan Barlow

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

Time and catastrophism on the magic mountain

By Gareth Dale

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.”

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Introducing degrowth into economics

By Matthias Schmelzer

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

Manchester will host the next International Degrowth Conference in 2020

By The Support Group of the International Conferences on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity

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.

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Multiple perspectives on the March 15th, Global Climate Strike in Vienna

By Nathan Barlow, Colleen Schneider, Nikolai Weber, and Frederik Amann

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.

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Degrowing the population?

By Kumar Bhattacharyya

The topic of population growth is often omitted from any debate regarding environmental impact in all academic circles ranging from classical to heterodox. While it is undeniable that the global population is increasing and will continue to increase for some time, no serious address towards the seemingly obvious relationship between population growth and environmental degradation is directly discussed. While historical precedents exist for active population control, they are often seen as serving an ulterior motive and the topic of population control is generally treated as a taboo subject. It seems clear that the issue must be addressed, yet perhaps the solution does not require the discussion of population at all. This blog post will dive deeper into the population discussion and attempt to give some direction for the Degrowth community as to how to face this phenomena moving forward.

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What happens to wellbeing when economies do not grow?

By Andrew Fanning

Ten years ago G20 leaders committed a staggering $5 trillion of public funds to rescue the banks and restore growth during the largest economic contraction in modern times. The economies of an unprecedented number of countries — and their associated environmental footprints — experienced very low growth over the decade that followed.read more

Degrowth and transformation: a reflection

By Christos Zografos

This article is part of a series on degrowth.info discussing strategy in the degrowth movement. The introduction to the series and an ongoing list of contributions can be found here.

In a previous piece in this blog series, Joe Herbert and colleagues pointed out the “how to move towards a degrowth society” gap in degrowth discourse. As I have also come across this “how to get there” question in my own modest attempts to link direct democracy to degrowth (e.g. Zografos, 2015), I would like to contribute some thoughts and so try to expand the conversations started by those colleagues. In my case, I have been asking myself and my students whether direct democracy is the best political vehicle for advancing towards a radical socio-ecological transformation such as degrowth. Admittedly, I am probably less interested in “strategies” and more on the empirical question of how past radical socio-ecological transformations actually happened. But, I believe that answers to that question are closely linked to the project of charting out strategies of political action for degrowth transformations.

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Before strategy, who is strategising?

By Jocelyne Sze and Omar Saif

This article is part of a series on degrowth.info discussing strategy in the degrowth movement. The introduction to the series and an ongoing list of contributions can be found here.

In the article “Beyond visions and projects…”, by Herbert, Barlow, Frey, Ambach, and Cigna, the authors persuasively set out the case for a more explicit debate on strategy in the degrowth movement. Highlighting the umbrella nature of degrowth, its plurality and openness as positive (and we would add distinguishing) aspects of the movement, they problematise its resultant ‘strategic indeterminism’ as a possible barrier to moving towards a degrowth society.

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A regular conference is a convivial powwow that the degrowth community relies on

By the Support Group

In 2008, a few years after the birth of “décroissance” in France, we organized the first International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Paris. Only ten years later, in 2018, we promoted three large international events in the same year: the 6th International Degrowth Conference in Malmö – following Barcelona, Venice, Leipzig and Budapest – as well as a macro-regional bilingual event with the first South-North-Degrowth conference in Mexico City and a thematic one in the European Union (EU) Parliament in Brussels. It was a risky, but successful bet for our small networks. We can observe that degrowth starts to play an important role in a broad range of notable academic and political discussions.read more

On strategies for socioecological transformation

By Panos Petridis

In a recent post, a group of authors expressed their concerns that degrowth risks being lost in pluralism and argued for the need to co-produce a mix of context-sensitive strategies. I believe this re-stirring of the debate on strategy in the degrowth movement is both relevant and timely. While I agree with many of the authors’ concerns, and proposals, I would here like to propose a somewhat different response.read more