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Abstract: In the prevalent view competition in saturated markets leads to a race-to-the-bottom, i.e. to a social, sociopolitical and ecological deregulation since competitive advantages are only viable by cost reductions due to the depletion of standards. In the present research project a contrary position is theoretically claimed and empirically tested. The main proposition is that low growth rates due to exhausted technical innovations produce normative innovations (self-reglation). Normative is to be called every instrumentally irrational innovation, which abstains from specific technical rational means and substitutes them with ambitious and normative appropriate means based on social, ethical, ecological or religious reasons. However, before normative innovations can be a sales pitch technical improvements and economies of scale have to be maxed out, hence a producer can risk to introduce new quality features if there is no chance to be undercutted by already established quality features. In a consumer’s view high prices for normative features can be justifiable if the technical maximum standard is already reached.

There is no paper for this media entry. This was a contribution to a scientific session at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014, which doesn’t exist in written format or is not published under open access.