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 contact@degrowth.info.



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 and International Society for Ecological Economics joint 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

A blog series on strategy in the degrowth movement

By Nathan Barlow

My colleagues and I wrote an initial blog post arguing that the question of strategy has received too little attention in the degrowth movement, and by degrowth scholars. Further, we observed that the discourse on strategy in degrowth was excessively plural, being open to all strategies in all contexts, rather than considering case-appropriateness (spatially, temporally, sectorally etc.).read more

Year end reflections on the Malmö degrowth conference 2018

By Clàudia Custòdio Martínez

The 6th International Degrowth Conference finished on Saturday, the 25th of August with a demonstration under the rain in the center of Malmö. Typical weather for the end of August in Sweden, and very welcomed after the past worryingly dry months.read more

Climate mitigation scenario – Contains growth and other normative substances

By Kai Kuhnhenn

We all use models in daily life to explain our environment. An example: I assume that a tree will grow provided it has sufficient water, nutrients and sun. I am using a simple model here, without understanding the nitty-gritty – what exactly happens in the roots, stem, leaves and cells.

Thinking in models is not only useful to understand our world, but also to solve problems. Let’s assume the tree is standing in front of my house. I know that when it’s bigger it will cast more and more shade on my house, thus reducing the sunlight reaching the rooms. If I am to prevent this, I can turn to my simple mental model and find out which factors I can and want to change in reality.read more

A Conference for Digitalization and Sustainability? Reflections on Bits & Bäume

By Nicolas Guenot, Nina Treu, Nick von Andrian

What could an alliance of techies and greens bring for a social, democratic and ecological future? The conference “Bits and Trees” (“Bits & Bäume” in German), which took place in Berlin on November 17th and 18th of this year, tried to shed light on this question. It brought together around 1.700 people interested and organized around digitalization and sustainability.read more