Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Dépense as a degrowth strategy

Presentation [part of the standard session “Limits, Ethics, Unsustainability and Change“]

This presentation will discuss the usefulness of both the concept and the practice of dépense for the degrowth project, and will make suggestions on how to frame proposals based on it for the purposes of informing a transition to a degrowth society.

Presenters: Oxana Lopatina (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

Language: English with German translation

Technical details: Standard A5_Oxana Lopatina_Dépense as a degrowth strategy.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 41.0MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Connecting degrowth to Epicurean hedonism: pleasure as a political ethics of limits

Presentation [part of the standard session “Limits, Ethics, Unsustainability and Change“]

The session will explore the relations between Epicurean hedonism and degrowth, showing how such connection has the potential to enrich and refine degrowth transformative proposal of a frugal society based on shared simple pleasures, relational goods and friendship, leisure, idleness and dépense.

Presenters: Roberto Sciarelli (Centre for Social Studies – University of Coimbra)

Language: English with German translation

Technical details: Standard A5_Roberto SCIARELLI_Connecting degrowth to Epicurean hedonism_ pleasure as a political ethics of limits.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 44.0MB

This is a link to a torrent video file. By clicking on ‘external content’ you will be opening a magnet link that will allow you to download the corresponding video with a torrent client. To learn more about downloading torrents see here.

Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Limits, Ethics, Unsustainability and Change

Standard session (discussion following 4 presentations)

  1. The Awesome Life: Why Degrowthers Need to Talk about the Feeling of Entropy – video
    Critical views of consumerism are widely shared among degrowthers. However, there is a risk of overlooking a particular affective dimension of consumption: the ‘entropic feeling’. The latter is triggered when we surpass the biophysical limits of our human body and come to enjoy the pleasures of dense energy, e.g. when we drive cars or drink coffee. Taking a critical and re-constructive stance towards what we call the ‘awesome life’ might increase the affective and strategic capacity of degrowth.
    Presenters: Michael Deflorian, Karoline Kalke
  2. Connecting degrowth to Epicurean hedonism: pleasure as a political ethics of limits – video
    The session will explore the relations between Epicurean hedonism and degrowth, showing how such connection has the potential to enrich and refine degrowth transformative proposal of a frugal society based on shared simple pleasures, relational goods and friendship, leisure, idleness and dépense.
    Presenters: Roberto Sciarelli
  3. Cosmologies of Growth and Degrowth
    Growth cannot be unseated as a paramount goal without wrestling with its cosmological foundations, the way that fantasies of continuous expansion are woven into the narratives and myths that organize modern life. Drawing on anthropological fieldwork in India, I sketch an alternative cosmology of degrowth, one that roots the possibility of a livable future in the truth of impermanence. Decay is an essential principle of ecological livelihood, a way to cultivate awareness of our human finitude.
    Presenters: Anand Pandian
  4. Dépense as a degrowth strategy – video
    This presentation will discuss the usefulness of both the concept and the practice of dépense for the degrowth project, and will make suggestions on how to frame proposals based on it for the purposes of informing a transition to a degrowth society.
    Presenters: Oxana Lopatina

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A5_Limits, Ethics, Unsustainability and Change_trimmed.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 441.7MB

This is a link to a torrent video file. By clicking on ‘external content’ you will be opening a magnet link that will allow you to download the corresponding video with a torrent client. To learn more about downloading torrents see here.

First North-South Conference on Degrowth-Descrecimiento, México City 2018 – Ética biocultural y educación para revalorar los vínculos vitales entre los co-habitantes, sus hábitos y hábitats

El modelo conceptual de las 3Hs ofrece un marco heurístico para evaluar las consecuencias que proyectos de dearrollo actuales o futuros podrían tener para los hábitos de vida, el bienestar de los co-habitantes y la conservación de los hábitats.

Is the degrowth debate relevant to China?

Abstract

In industrialized countries, the idea of degrowth has emerged as a response to environmental, social, and economic crises. Realizing environmental limits to and failures of more than half a century of continual economic growth in terms of social progress and environmental sustainability, the degrowth paradigm calls for a downscaling of consumption and production for social equity and ecological sustainability. The call for economic degrowth is generally considered to be delimited to rich countries, where reduced consumption can save “ecological space” enabling people in poor countries to enjoy the benefits of economic growth. China, as one of the economically most expanding countries in the world, has dramatically improved its living standards, particularly along the Eastern coast, over the latest 30 years. However, China is absent from the international debates on growth. This article discusses the implications of the Western degrowth debates for China. Given the distinctive features of China’s development, the paper aims to enrich the degrowth debates, which have hitherto been dominated by Western perspectives. Based upon reflections on social, environmental, and moral dimensions of economic growth, the paper argues that limited natural resources may not continuously support universal affluence at the current level of the rich countries, a level that China is likely to reach within a few decades. Priority for growth in China should therefore be given to the poor regions of the country, and future growth should be beneficial to social and environmental development.

Keywords

Economic growth, Degrowth debates, China, Environmental sustainability, Social equity, Morality 

Need, Entitlement and Desert: A Distributive Justice Framework for Consumption Degrowth

Post-growth societies seek socio-ecological transformations towards a just and sustainable redistribution and reduced consumption of natural capital. There is no one universally just and ecologically sustainable way of fulfilling these redistribution and consumption objectives; it depends on the criteria used and their underlying ethical teleology. We suggest three distribution criteria, borrowed from the foundations of the Environmental Justice (EJ) movement: need, entitlement and desert. By juxtaposing and problematising the needs, entitlements and deserts of nature and society, these criteria comprise an ethical framework for consumption Degrowth praxis in communities. We present arguments for how each distribution criterion fulfils the aims articulated in the Degrowth corpus. Based on these arguments, we propose seven justice-based community action principles for redistribution under Degrowth. In our discussion of these derived principles, we demonstrate that, like EJ, Degrowth seeks consequential as well as deontological justice, underscoring their deep complementarity. Therefore, our Need-Entitlement-Desert framework may serve as a useful guiding frame to include ethical distribution considerations in societies’ pursuit of post-growth futures.

Ecological Economics, vol. 156, February 2019, pp. 327-336

Why economic ‘degrowth’ is an ethical imperative

Edited excerpt from “Frugal Value: Designing Business for a Crowded Planet” by Carina Millstone

Environmental Ethics / EnvJustice Vocabulary – Catherine Larrère

Catherine Larrère, Université de Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, explains the term “Environmental Ethics” and why it ought to be instrumental to the environmental justice movement.

Youtube-channel EnvJustice Vocabulary

Sharing, togetherness and intentional degrowth

Abstract: This article proposes a social phenomenology of intentional sharing and togetherness from a degrowth perspective: extending human relations instead of market relations; deepening democracy; defending ecosystems; and realizing a more equal global distribution of wealth. Social phenomenology looks beyond individual mutual exchange to the rich but fragile social construction of collectively negotiated ethical purpose. Intentional communities of cohousing are identified as part of a solution to dismantle privatized, conspicuous consumption. This approach challenges the tendency in popular sharing economy discourse to conflate different types of togetherness, highlighting instead the social significance of skilful cooperation and conviviality in groups and associations.

Pope Francis and Degrowth: A Possible Dialogue for a Post-Capitalist Alternative

Abstract: The recent social encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) by Pope Francis, contains insightful considerations regarding the present ecological and economic crisis and it calls for an urgent and radical change in people’s lifestyles. Degrowth is an emergent social, political, and economic movement that praises the end of a growth-based society. Somehow, it seems that the ideas of degrowth have been not enough seriously considered by political and economic circles, and by religiously inspired social doctrines. This paper argues that the two, Francis’ text and degrowth’s principles, share some relevant points and they can be allied in prospecting and making effective a paradigmatic change in today’s socio-economic setting. After presenting degrowth’s main ideas, Francis’ text will be analyzed, for then summarizing the results of the analyses in the concluding part.

International Journal of Public Theology, Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 7 – 35.

Work ethic and degrowth in a changing Atlantic Canada

Abstract: This article draws on interviews, observations, and surveys from two mixed-methods sociological studies of people’s relationships to paid and unpaid work to argue that the concept of the work ethic is a fruitful entry-point for exploring critical issues of work, leisure and consumption in rural places, and indeed anywhere there are efforts to realize degrowth strategies. Then, I survey some of the major themes about work in a selection of widely-cited degrowth writings and argue that the work ethic could use more attention — particularly the question of how the dominant work ethic at any place and time might constrain or enable degrowth as a political-ecological aspiration. This question is actually a hopeful one, because it suggests that in-depth studies of instances where something other than the Protestant, capitalist (i.e. expansion-oriented) work ethic dominates can (and already do!) show us the kinds of culturally-embedded relationships to work that are complimentary to a degrowth agenda. Moreover, such studies show that alternative modes of working are viable. In other words, sociological and anthropological studies can provide empirical evidence that vibrant, meaningful human life can continue in the absence of constant economic growth.

Journal of Political Ecology 24: 633-643.

This is the thirteenth article in Lisa L. Gezon and Susan Paulson (eds.) 2017. “Degrowth, culture and power”, Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology, 24: 425-666.

> Introduction and overview over other articles of the Special Section

Neo-monastics in North Carolina, de-growth and a theology of enough

Abstract: This article examines one intentional Christian community’s attempts to live a life that eschews consumerism and material growth for a life focused on spiritual growth and collectivity. I articulate intentional Christian living, often referred to as neo-monasticism, with the de-growth movement. I do so to offer insight into the practice and pragmatics of de-growth’s broadly understood call to revalue the ideals of life in an effort to reduce consumption. Neo-monasticism and de-growth have much in common including the critique of consumerism, individualism and increasing inequality. Both also promote relationships, locality, sharing, slowing down and quality of life over efficiency and incessant work. Drawing on four years of research with one residential Christian community, I suggest that the most challenging aspect of sharing a life together and slowing down is not simply consuming less or pooling resources but rethinking and living social values not driven by a consumerist-growth paradigm. While some de-growth advocates, such as Serge Latouche, promote ideals of harmony and oneness, in practice, living simply and sharing a life together is challenging and conflictual, even when religiously inspired.

Journal of Political Ecology 24: 543-565.

This is the seventh article in Lisa L. Gezon and Susan Paulson (eds.) 2017. “Degrowth, culture and power”, Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology, 24: 425-466.

> Introduction and overview over other articles of the Special Section

Postwachstum als Herausforderung für Unternehmen

Herausgeber_innen: Eine Wirtschaft ohne Wachstum wird durch Entwicklungen wie sinkende Wachstumsraten, ökologische Grenzen und sich verstärkende soziale Schieflagen zur realen Herausforderung – fpr die Zukunftsfähigkeit einer funktionierenden Gesellschaft, aber gleichfalls für Unternehmen als Problemverursacher und potenzielle Problemlöser
Aus Postwachstum folgt allerdings kein Wachstumverbot. Die wachstumsunabhängige Gestaltung von Geschäftsmodellen erfordert vielmehr eine grundlegende Auseinandersetzung mit unternehmerischen Wachstumstreibern und dem gesellschaftlichen Nutzen des Unternehmensangebots. Auf diese Weise können Unternehmenesansätze für eine Postwachstumsgesellschaft idnetifiziert und Wege zu ihrer Umsetzung erarbeitet werden.

Shape of things to come: From the ‘laws of form’ to management in the post-growth economy

Abstract: Departing from George Spencer-Brown’s Laws of form and the works of German sociologist Dirk Baecker, a formal model of the firm in the post-growth economy is developed. In following a post-classical approach – and some reference to system theory by Niklas Luhmann as well as the works on autonomous systems by Francisco Varela – we, first, show the explanatory power of Spencer-Brown’s indicational notation for conceptualizing organizational and managerial problem situations, thus contributing a novel approach to the theory of the firm. Secondly, model insights about the nature of the firm, its management, and its relation to a changing environment with limits to economic expansion and increased societal demands are contrasted with existing strands of more classical managerial research and their findings. Thus, it is possible to theoretically substantiate new perspectives on the future ‘hard core’ of management practice around the notions of ethics, values, and collaboration, while also describing the scope and direction of changes in the firm’s societal, economic, and ecological environments.

ephemera, volume 17(1): 89-118

Nothing is more

Introduction: To construct from renouncement (n’UNDO) is an attitude, a cultural reaction, extendable to any field of knowledge and life that, from architecture and by means of the implication of diverse disciplines, aims to generate a base of thought and action (No Construction, Minimization, Reuse and Dismantlement) as a way of doing sustainable architecture of the territory and the city. This is formulated as a philosophy of renunciation, of the search for the essential and necessary, of the do without doing, as the nothing is more philosophy.
Two major crises challenge our models, one systemic and cultural, samples that the subculture of masses of our society, advocates insatiable consumption, irresponsibility, continued growth, uncontrolled accumulation, obsolescence, unsustainable waste generation, mass propaganda and monumentality. A culture where speculation has replaced economy; technocracy is understood as politics; consumption as freedom and charity as social justice.

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.