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Abstract: This contribution postulates that a theoretical explanation of the foundational conditions of economic growth is a prerequisite for conceptually elaborating on the ways to foster degrowth. It suggests that reorienting the current unsustainable and inequitable path and implementing the degrowth transition in an ecologically sustainable and socially equitable manner requires a shift in the hierarchy of social norms, from the property-based economic rationale, where social and ecological considerations are subordinated to the specific requirements of capitalist expansion, towards an eco-social economic rationale, where economic activities are subordinated to social and ecological considerations and imperatives. Such an eco-social rationale could subordinate property capitalist expansion through the following, interrelated ways: limiting the scope of the property domain, regulating capitalisation practices, orienting investments, distributing returns and limiting the capitalist expansion of property. Nonetheless, getting out of the involutionary path of western development might require more radical alternatives, such as non-property, possession-based institutional arrangements and partnerships.

Ecological Economics, Volume 84, December 2012, Pages 262–269, The Economics of Degrowth