Degrowth Conference Budapest, 2016 – Money and subjective well-being

Academic special session, with Filka Sekulova, Christopher Boyce, and Martin Fritz

Interest in subjective well-being in public policy has been growing steadily over the last decades arriving at a voluminous and thematically diverse literature. A reoccurring theme for debates is the extent to which short and long-term income growth relates to well-being. Although many studies have shown that income growth at the societal level contributes little, if any, to well-being over time (Brockmann 2009, Clark et al. 2008, Di Tella and MacCulloch 2006, Blanchflower and Oswald 2004, Gardner and Oswald 2001, Easterlin 1974) others maintain that income growth does contribute meaningfully to well-being (Sacks et al. 2012). Nevertheless, a consistent significant positive causal relationship between income and happiness growth in a country over time is difficult to find (Easterlin 2012). A slightly different picture emerges when individual income and well-being is considered. Research consistently suggests that income changes may have some influence on well-being (Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Frijters, 2004; Kahneman & Deaton, 2010; Layard, Mayraz, & Nickell, 2008). However, the magnitude of this effect is often found to be small owing to psychological tendencies to adapt (Di Tella, Haisken-De New, & MacCulloch, 2010) and/or compare (Clark et al. 2008).

Money, Vouchers, Public Infrastructures? A Framework for Sustainable Welfare Benefits

While the social consequences of environmental policies are extensively evaluated in sustainability research, few studies exist on the ecological impact of social benefits and the welfare state. Sustainable welfare is a novel research field that seeks to close this knowledge gap and develop integrated eco-social policies. Within this, researchers are starting to ask how citizen’s needs can be guaranteed in an environmentally sustainable way and how their welfare benefits should be delivered. Should citizens receive a universal basic income, be given vouchers for ecologically beneficial or socially needed goods and services, or be provided with access to socio-ecological infrastructures and services? This article develops a framework for sustainable welfare benefits with six criteria of sustainable welfare and nine different types of welfare benefits that belong to the domains of universal basic income (UBI), universal basic services (UBS), and universal basic vouchers (UBV). Using this framework, existing policy proposals are categorized and evaluated. The advantages and disadvantages of the different types of welfare benefits are discussed and new application areas highlighted. The analysis shows that a successful policy will likely include all forms of welfare benefits, with certain types being more adequate for certain fields and societal circumstances. The framework for sustainable welfare benefits can serve as a starting point for further research on integrated policy design and inform policymakers on the selection of eco-social policies.
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 596

Post-Growth Conference, Brussels 2018 – Workshop Wages & Collective Bargaining

Chair: Marisa Matias, MEP (GUE/NGL)
Panellists: Esther Lynch (ETUC, Confederal Secretary), Lars Vande Keybus (FGTB)

Climate change, happiness and income from a degrowth perspective

Chapter in the “Handbook on Growth and Sustainability”
Edited by Peter A. Victor and Brett Dolter

About the book: This Handbook assembles original contributions from influential authors such as Herman Daly, Paul Ekins, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Jeroen van den Bergh, William E. Rees and Tim Jackson who have helped to define our understanding of growth and sustainability. The Handbook also presents new contributions on topics such as degrowth, the debt-based financial system, cultural change, energy return on investment, shorter working hours and employment, and innovation and technology. Explorations of these issues can deepen our understanding of whether growth is sustainable and, in turn, whether a move away from growth can be sustained. With issues such as climate change looming large, our understanding of growth and sustainability is critical. This Handbook offers a broad range of perspectives that can help the reader to decide: Growth? Sustainability? Both? Or neither?

Sekulova, F., Kallis, G. and Schneider, F. 2017. Climate change, happiness and income from a degrowth perspective. In Handbook on Growth and Sustainability, Victor, Peter and Brett Dolter (Eds.) Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, MA.

Learning from degrowth ideas of work and income

Work sharing, work time reduction, basic income and job guarantee are often referred ideas in degrowth-literature as alternatives to present models of work and income. Also various grassroots innovations, such as local organic food networks or community currencies are examples in which people are already developing production and consumption structures based on community empowerment and wellbeing rather than full-time employment. So far these alternatives have remained distant from the research fields of social policy and social work in European welfare states. Instead of learning from the alternatives, high levels of unemployment caused by economic decline are tried to be tackled with economic growth and activation policies that are hardly in line with basic rights and personal freedoms. These measures are also ecologically unsustainable since they are relying on increases in production and consumption.

In our presentation we discuss the degrowth alternatives of work and income in the context of European welfare states. We see them as empowering alternatives compared to present activation measures especially for young unemployed people living in the margins of traditional labour market. Based on the research on sustainability transition and degrowth, we ask what kind of alternatives of work and income are in line with the transition and what needs to be reformed in the social security systems in order to strengthen the transition. The paper is based on a 4-year (2015–2019) research project in which the overall research task is to deepen the knowledge on the contribution of social work and systems of income security to transitions towards sustainability.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Learning from degrowth ideas of work and income“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

Arbeitszeitpolitik der Grünen

Bericht vom Forum Arbeitszeitpolitik der GRÜNEN

Aus dem Vorwort: Die GRÜNEN im Bundestag haben in den vergangenen Monatenvielfältige Initativen ergriffen, die sich auf die Arbeitszeitproblematik und die gewerkschaftlichen Forderungen zur Verkürzung der Arbeitszeit konzenztrieren. Dabei lagen die Aktivitäten der GRÜNEN im Medienecho eher am Rande der von relevanten “klassischen” Formationen (Unternehmerlager und ihr Parteiklientel gegen Gewerkschaften und SPD) geprägten Auseinanderstetzungen. Die Veröffentlichung dieser Dokumentation hat insofern den Zweck, einer interessierten Öffentlichkeit Informationen über arbeitszeitpolischen Diskussionsstanf und Positionen der GRÜNEN zu vermitteln.

Weitere wachstumskritische Dokumente der Grünen aus den 80er und 90er Jahren:
> Sinnvoll Arbeiten-Solidarisch Leben. Gegen Arbeitslosigkeit und Sozialabbau
> Umbau der Industriegesellschaft. Schritte zur Überwindung Von Erwerbslosigkeit, Armut und Umweltzerstörung
> Entwurf eines Gesetzes für eine ökologisch-soziale Wirtschaft (Förderung der umwelt- un sozialverträglichen Entwicklung der Wirtschaft – GösW)
> Auf dem weg zu eines ökologischen-solidarischen Weltwirtschaft.

Ronald Blaschke: Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen auf einen Blick für Degrowth-Aktive und -Forschende

Einführung in die Idee des Bedingungslosen Grundeinkommens bei der Konferenz “Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen und Degrowth” am 20. Mai 2016 in der Katholischen Akademie Hamburg.


Dies ist ein Beitrag zum Projekt Degrowth in Bewegung(en), in dem es um die Grundeinkommensbewegung geht.

Info zum Projekt Degrowth in Bewegung(en):
Degrowth ist nicht nur ein neues Label für eine Diskussion über Alternativen oder eine akademische Debatte, sondern auch eine im Entstehen begriffene soziale Bewegung. Trotz vieler Überschneidungen mit anderen sozialen Bewegungen gibt es sowohl bei diesen als auch in Degrowth-Kreisen noch viel Unkenntnis über die jeweils anderen. Hier bietet sich viel Raum für gegenseitiges Lernen.

Wie steht Degrowth im Verhältnis zu anderen sozialen Bewegungen? Was kann die Degrowth-Bewegung von diesen lernen? Und was können andere soziale Bewegungen wiederum voneinander sowie von Degrowth-Ideen und -Praktiken lernen? Welche gegenseitigen Anregungen aber auch welche Spannungen gibt es? Und wo könnten Bündnisse möglich sein?

Diesen Fragen gehen Vertreter_innen aus 32 sozialen Bewegungen, alternativökonomischen Strömungen und Initiativen in Essays nach. Die Texte sind zusammen mit Bildern sowie Audio- und Videobeiträgen auf dem Degrowth-Webportal veröffentlicht.

> Link zum Projekt mit allen Texten
> Link zum Artikel mit Bildern
> English version of the text “Sustainable Ecological Transition is Impossible Without Unconditional Social Security for All People”

Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen auf einen Blick für Degrowth-AktivistInnen und -ForscherInnen

Manuskript: Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen auf einen Blick für Degrowth-AktivistInnen und -ForscherInnen – Vortrag von Ronald Blaschke beim Kongress “Bedingungs­loses Grundeinkommen und Degrowth” in Hamburg, Deutschland (19–20. Mai 2016).

Inhalt des Vortrags
1. Die Definition des Mindesteinkommens
2. Die Definition des Grundeinkommens
3. Das Prinzip Grundeinkommen, oder: Wofür ein Grundeinkommen steht.
4. Die Höhe des Grundeinkommens
5. Was ist eine Sozialdividende, was eine negative Einkommensteuer?
6. Die Definition der Grund-/Mindestsicherung
7. Geschichte der Idee und Begründungen des Grundeinkommens
8. Was wird im Zusammenhang mit Grundeinkommenskonzepten und -ansätzen alles diskutiert?

Contents (english version)
1. The definition of minimum income
2. The definition of unconditional basic income
3. The principle of basic income, or: what basic income stands for
4. The amount of basic income
5. What is a social dividend, and what is a negative income tax?
6. The definition of social allowance/basic security
7. The history of the idea of and grounds for basic income
8. What issues are discussed in connection with basic income concepts and approaches?

> English manuscript “Unconditional Basic Income”.
> Zum parallel stattgefundenden Vortrag “Degrowth auf einen Blick für Grundeinkommen-AktivistInnen und -ForscherInnen” mit Matthias Schmelzer.

Transitions towards degrowth and sustainable welfare: Carbon emission reduction and wealth and income distribution in France, the US and China

Chapter in the Book: Sustainability and the Political Economy of Welfare
Edited by Max Koch, Oksana Mont

Differential relations between income and aspects of well-being

Poster by Saamah Abdallah and Sam Thompson from the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona with the title “Differential relations between income and aspects of well-being”.


Class, Degrowth and Transition to a Just and Sustainable Society

Poster by Marko Ulvila and Jarna Pasanen at the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona with the title “Class, Degrowth and Transition to a Just and Sustainable Society”.

Changing the Relationship Between Paid and Unpaid Work – a Sustainable Working Model in the Perspective of Degrowth

Poster by Linda Nierling at the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona with the title “Changing the Relationship Between Paid and Unpaid Work – a Sustainable Working Model in the Perspective of Degrowth”.

Does consumption of market goods relates to well being? An empirical test in the Bolivian Amazon

Poster and Transcription of an poster session by Elena Masferrer-Dodas, Luis Rico García -Amado and Victoria Reyes­-García at the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona with the title “Does consumption of market goods relates to well being? An empirical test in the Bolivian Amazon”.

Link to the poster

Growth, Distribution and Prices

What determines the rate of growth, the distribution of income, and the structure of relative prices under capitalism? What, in short, makes capitalist economies tick? This watershed treatise analyzes the answers to these questions provided by three major theoretical traditions: neoclassical, neo-Marxian, and neo-Keynesian. Until now, the mutual criticism exchanged by partisans of the different traditions has focused disproportionately on the logical shortcomings of rival theories, or on such questions as whether or not input–output relationships can be described by a continuous-substitution production function.

In this book, these are at best secondary issues. The real distinguishing features of the theories, for Stephen Marglin, are their characterization of labor markets and capital accumulation. For clarity, Marglin first sets out the essential features of each theory in the context of a common production model with a single good and a fixed-coefficient technology. He then formalizes the different theories as alternative ways of closing the model. In subsequent chapters he examines the effects of relaxing key simplifying assumptions, in particular the characterization of technology and the homogeneity of output and capital. And although his primary emphasis is theoretical, he does not ignore the problem of empirically testing the theories. Finally, he synthesizes the insights of the neo-Marxian and neo-Keynesian models into a single model that transcends the shortcomings of each taken separately.

Marglin anticipates that partisans of the different traditions will agree on one point: each will allow that the book reveals the shortcomings of the other theories but will insist that it fails utterly to reflect the power and majesty of one’s own particular brand of truth. Growth, Distribution, and Prices will be controversial, but it will not be ignored.

ISBN 9780674364165