Abstract: The density of events over the last years, together with the continuous scaremongering from the dominant political and media circles, has put the Greek society into an informal “economic state of exception”. Austerity measures and neoliberal policies such as large scale privatisations, under the name of “reform” or “modernisation” are presented as a painful but necessary evil and a value-free solution to a problem that is merely numerical. Yet, limiting the debate to a financial dialectic fails to address many fundamental issues that cannot fit into economic models. This directly challenges the very idea of democracy and quite reasonably leads to widespread social unrest. Trapped into the same economistic logic, opposition against the austerity policies and autarchic state practices has so far been reactive and defensive. A radically different, constructivist proposal would be to initiate a process of collective visioning in order to re-establish society’s institutional structure. Drawing from Castoriadis’ project of autonomy, this contribution discusses the importance of a truly democratic regime, as well as the existence of a positive vision, in the process of social transformation and goes on to suggest that degrowth, in its broadest sense, can stimulate such a vision. It is therefore argued that degrowth should remain a visionary terrain and, at the same time, explicitly reclaim its political dimension.
Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.