Contribution to a special session at the the 4th International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Leipzig in 2014.
Speaker: Ulrich Brand
Abstract of the paper “Post-Extracivism and De-Growth: Two Sides of the Same Perspective?”: There are at two continents two thrilling debates taking place. In Europe, the degrowth perspective pushes a dynamic political and scientific debate in Europe which started some years ago in order to develop alternatives to the business-as-usual strategies. Since the beginning of the economic crisis, those strategies claim almost exclusively that economic growth and competitiveness has to be secured or enhanced; austerity politics is the dominant economic and social policy. In Latin America, a paradox is at the core of current policies: Even many governments claim to start with policies which do not damage the environment, in fact the model of resource extractivism predominates. The paper takes those constellations as starting points and asks how proposals or degrowth and post-extractivism intend to overcome dominant dynamics. Additionally, it compares core arguments of both perspectives against the background of some criteria: The framing of the problems, the role of markets, states and democracy within degrowth and post-extractivism proposals, the driving forces and crucial obstacles and – importantly – how they conceptualize change at the international level.