Recorded keynote speeches at the 4th International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Leipzig in 2014. Speeches by Haris Konstatatos and Barbara Muraca. The topic of the day is “Facing the current crises: critique and resistance”.
Haris Konstatatos: Social-ecological crisis & crisis of democracy: a view from Southern Europe
The accelerating socio-ecological crisis in countries of southern Europe is a neglected aspect of today’s “crisis”, which is generally perceived solely in macro-economic terms. The double devaluation of human labour and natural resources comes with a “state of emergency”: Sovereign powers are given directly to unelected elites, while public control and participation in decision-making are demolished. However, in social movements and practices of resistance there is a growing awareness of the deep socio-ecological transitions needed.
Barbara Muraca: Between Doom and Utopia: Degrowth as a way out of the crisis?
Growth has turned from a means for securing employment and social stability into a goal of its own. Yet, growth at any cost increases the pressure on the environment, undermines economic development, and erodes the very basis of democracy. Whereas growth-based economic societies that stop growing are destabilized by a recession path and eventually doomed to collapse, the degrowth proposal envisions a radical transformation of society, in which growth-addiction looses its grip and real democracy, autonomy, and solidarity are strengthened. Can degrowth be a concrete utopia that indicates a way out of the crisis?