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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Rojava (Northern Syria), in the midst of a raging war, a society based on the values of women’s liberation, radical democracy, and ecology is being built. In early 2018, we, people from across the world, launched the campaign ‘Make Rojava Green Again’ in co-operation with the newly-established local autonomies to help find solutions to the vast destruction of nature that has resulted from decades of colonialism, capitalism, and war.
When the BBC asked me if I would participate in a debate panel on climate change, capitalism and democracy, I first panicked and then said yes. All I really wanted to do this week was finish up and (re)submit some research I started a long time ago. This research shows that, despite their massive growth, energy and carbon emissions cannot (statistically) explain improvements in international life expectancy. I call it the “carbon-development paradox.” But the 1.5degree IPCC report dropped, and life, research and plans all had to make way for a new, more urgent reality.
The Well Planet Manifesto is an invitation to undertake an agenda of research that is closer to the state of emergency in which we find ourselves. It encourages researchers, activists, policy-makers and member of civil society to act according to this emergency. Those are invited to connect to one another by signing up the manifesto, in order to establish a research network. See the manifesto here below:read more
Green growth advocates praise resource efficiency for its potential to incentivize the economy and lower its ecological impact. On the other hand, the Jevons Paradox, describes multiple situations (or rebound effects) in which increased efficiency leads to further consumption (either direct or indirect) which offsets the initial ecological benefits achieved. In this piece, I join this discussion by exploring a resource efficiency strategy, achieved through investment in labour (not technology), in which ecological benefits are obtained and rebound effects avoided.read more
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.