Results from the GAP (Group Assembly Process) Group Redefining Value at the Degrowth Conference in Leipzig 2014
Primacy of needs
> Primacy of self-determined human fundamental needs for all (e.g. Max-Neef’s human scale development approach: subsistance, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity and freedom).
> Counscious human responsability in accordance to the rights of nature.
> Mechanisms to identify the deprivation of needs and action to meet them as top priority at all levels.
> Mechanisms to identify excessive consumption of resources in serving wants and to face them out.
Who and how to decide for value
Instead of imposing new value structures / ideologies, we have to open up the space for self-determination/self-realization of everyone. Our self-determination is fully interconnected with nature. So the non-respect of sustainability / harmony with nature harms our (possibility of) self-determination. Our right to individual and collective self-determination is consequently linked to a responsible and reciprocal relationship to our fellow human beings, to the animal kingdom and to nature at large. This reciprocal relationship has to be a cornerstone of our educational system and our political deliberation: of our citizenship. In this context, we also strongly want to remind of/refer to the proposal against advertisement from Barcelona.
Let us dismantel the existing power structures and deepen our relational/reciprocal self-determination!!!
> How to define “nature”? What to preserve following the idea of “reciprocity / relationality with nature”?
> What kind of reasoning allows us to embed the rather anthropocentric idea of “self-determination” in the biocentrist approach of “reciprocity / relationality”? Why the value of “self-determination” would not be undermined by this step?
De-monetizing and de-numerizing value
We identified 4 kinds of value that should be rethought in a degrowing society: Intrinsic value (A) vs. extrinsic value (instrumental/use value) (B); exchange value (C), Unfolding value (D)
(A) Non-numerised and non-monetised since it is not a commodity – examples:
> act and joy of sharing food
> act of enjoying nature
> nature itself
(B) Non-monetised but numerisable. The value of an item or an action for a certain purpose – examples:
> wood from trees
(C) Monetisable and numberisable, depending on the exchange system: Money, barter, time banking, gift culture. Accumulation is a subset of this category – examples:
> food ticket or barter or gift or time banking or money to exchange for a meal
(D) There is a transition or transformation over time between these three categories. We propose the term ‘Unfolding Value’ to capture this idea. Think about a forest which is completely cut down. The wood we have from it has a huge instrumental value. In a period of, say, 100 years there are no trees left so no intrinstic nor instumental value.
The value of a building gains intrinsic value over time as heritage (at least in Western culture)
Questions to be addressed by future GAPpers:
> How these values should be rethought for a degrowth society?
> Are these values individual values, community values, universal values?
> Do these values inform demonetising and denumerising society/economy?
> An Economy of Permanence and Rethinking Value