Adieu, Wachstum! Das Ende einer Erfolgsgeschichte

Norbert Nicoll liefert eine reichhaltige, kritische Darstellung der kapitalistischen Wachstumsidee. Er macht anschaulich, wie diese historisch entstanden ist, wie sie einen kleinen Teil Privilegierter reich gemacht hat und uns nun in eine Klima-, Energie- und Ressourcenkrise führt.

In einer Tour de Force bringt er uns Fakten aus Ökologie, Ökonomie, Soziologie, Geologie, Geschichts- und Politikwissenschaft nahe. Dabei erstellt er nicht nur eine eindrucksvolle Negativbilanz von Umweltzerstörung, Klimawandel, Ressourcenverbrauch und sozialer Spaltung. Er gewinnt daraus zugleich Ansätze für eine nachhaltige und menschenfreundliche Metamorphose der Wachstumsidee und macht plausibel: Wachstum und Wohlstand können und müssen entkoppelt werden, um unseren Planeten zukunftsfähig zu machen.

Lasst uns gut leben, statt unendlich wachsen!
(Beschreibung des Verlags)


ISBN 978-3-8288-3736-2

Degrowth: the history of an idea

Abstract: Degrowth is a concept-platform with multiple meanings, and is shaped by five sources of thought: ecological, bioeconomical, anthropological, democratic, and spiritual. The word appeared in the 1970s, and imposed itself beginning in 2002 owing to the convergence between the criticism of development and the anti-advertising movement, initially in France but later across the European continent, beginning with Latin regions. In radicalizing ecological criticism, it connected and gave increased focus to numerous emerging alternatives in the margins of civil society.

SAT_10h // Polanyi historical lessons

Keynote speech by Gareth Dale and following panel discussion by Mladen Domazet, Vincent Liegey and Alexandra Köves at the 6th International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Budapest in 2016.

Degrowth 2016 – English youtube channel

Theoretical and historical perspectives on technology

This is the first of a planned ‘trilogy’ of sessions on the contentious relationship between degrowth and technology. It represents the first of three subthemes of a special issue on degrowth and technology, which is currently being edited for the Journal of Cleaner Production. The aim of this special session is to bring together different theoretical and historical perspectives on technology, technological development and innovation from various academic disciplines (e.g. Philosophy, Political Science, Science and Technology Studies, Innovation Studies, Technology Assessment, Anthropology, History). The contributions shed light on diverse views of how technology comes into play in degrowth contexts. Different theoretical approaches and research methods are deployed to develop and discuss frameworks capturing the role of technology and innovation in a Degrowth society. In particular, theories of democratization of technology are scrutinised with respect to their practical relevance.
The session also presents new ways of seeing innovation and technologies, well-elaborated critiques of mainstream technological optimism and economic efficiency improvements. In addition, it gives insights into other fields and theoretical backgrounds, which do not necessarily engage directly with technology, such as ethics, feminism, critical theory or Marxism, but could provide powerful analytical tools. Contributions focus on technology in general or on specific (controversial) technologies. They also include suggestions on how to deal with unavoidable decisions, like whether or not to apply a controversial, or new and potentially harmful technology.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Theoretical and historical perspectives on technology “ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

Polanyi, historical lessons, future challenges, semiperiphery

Gareth Dale reflects on how the lessons from history of the semi-periphery can be used for degrowth of tomorrow. Drawing from his understanding of the work of Karl Polanyi, Gareth will try to sketch Polanyi’s answers for the currently open degrowth challenges and issues raised at the conference.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Polanyi, historical lessons, future challenges, semiperiphery“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

Organizational practices, social values and economic measures in Community Supported Agriculture: A historical overview

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) concept was born in the 1980s in the United States and has been expanded throughout the world. CSA is a “concept describing a community-based organization of producers and consumers. The consumers agree to provide direct support to the local growers who will produce their food. The growers agree to do their best to provide a sufficient quantity and quality of food to meet the needs and expectations of the consumers. ” (Lamb, G. 1994). The concept translates into multiple forms: consumer-directed, farmer-directed, farmer-coordinated, farmer consumer cooperatives (Polimeni, Iorgulescu, Shirley 2015).
We argue that CSA is a relevant grass-root initiative for a post-growth economy. Food production is the fundamental requirement for life and sustainable human activities. Moreover, it is the necessary condition for the survival of human society. Besides being ecology friendly, CSAs have organizational practices, social values and economic measures departing from mainstream economic assumptions of self-interest, competition and profit maximization. CSAs adopt a holistic perspective of producers and consumers, based upon values like trust, cooperation and ecological responsibility as a result of collective initiatives of people sharing the same thoughts, values and motivation through their proposals of news ways of consuming, satisfying their needs and desires, organizing and transforming the social and collective life and the societies at large. The concept of “community” stands as a founding principle of developing sustainable post-growth economies.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Organizational practices, social values and economic measures in Community Supported Agriculture: A historical overview“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

Are we entering the age of involuntary degrowth? Promethean technologies and declining returns of innovation

Abstract: Any reflections on an eventual transition towards a degrowth society have to take into account the current crisis in the dominant system and question whether the latter will be able to grow again or not. In order for the latter to happen, the role played by technological innovation is crucial. This paper starts by reconsidering Georgescu-Roegen’s definition of Promethean Techniques and Tainter’s principle of Declining Marginal Returns, with the aim of providing – within the common framework of the theory of complex systems – a sound theoretical basis for the analysis of the rise and fall of complex societies. The main purpose is to verify whether, after the last Promethean revolution, a “Great Wave” emerged or not. The second part of the paper presents an initial investigation into this hypothesis, using Total Factor Productivity growth as an indicator of (marginal) returns on innovation (1750–2015). Despite the limitations implicit in the use of this indicator, data show three cycles of innovation, corresponding to the first, second and third industrial revolutions, but of different magnitude and duration. In particular, the whole cycle that began with the first industrial revolution in England around 1750, reached a peak in the U.S. in the nineteen-thirties and later declined, following a trend that basically confirms the Great Wave hypothesis. Even recent innovations resulting from the ICT revolution, however considerable, do not seem capable of counteracting this long-term trend. Data on returns on innovation seem, therefore, to be coherent with evidence provided by research in other fields (energy, mineral resources, agriculture, health, education and scientific research), showing that advanced capitalist societies have entered a phase of declining marginal returns – or involuntary degrowth – with possible major effects on the system’s capacity to maintain its present institutional framework.

Journal of Cleaner Production.

From Growth to Degrowth: a brief history

The post gives an overview over growth and degrowth since post WWII

Degrowth und Postwachstum – Reflexionen zu Konzeptvielfalt und Nachhaltigkeitsbezügen

Herausgeber_innen: Mit den Themen „Degrowth“ und „Postwachstum“ wurde in den vergangenen Jahren Wachstumskritik wieder auf die politische und wissenschaftliche Agenda gehoben. Die Vielfältigkeit der Debatten zu systematisieren, gelingt bislang nur unzureichend. Gründe dafür werden in diesem Beitrag diskutiert. Zum einen bleiben die Begriffsbestimmungen von Wachstum bzw. Wachstumskritik und der Ideen von Degrowth bzw. Postwachstum häufig unausgeführt oder als Negativbegriffe (De-/Post-) unkonkret. Das kann den Vorzug bieten, viele Ideen unter einem Dach zu versammeln, erweist sich aber als problematisch im Hinblick auf Entwürfe von Alternativoptionen. Zum anderen fehlt es bisher, auch aufgrund der verbreiteten Ablehnung des Paradigmas nachhaltiger Entwicklung in diesen Debatten, an einem tragfähigen gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungsverständnis. Abschließend werden Vorschläge für eine allgemeine Bestimmung von Wachstumskritik und alternative soziologische Entwicklungskonzepte benannt.

Abhängigkeit vom Wirtschaftswachstum als Hindernis für eine Politik innerhalb der limits to growth

Herausgeberinnen: Die Grenzen des Wachstums von Meadows et al.(1972) holen uns nach 40 Jahren ein.
Doch inzwischen hat das Wirtschaftswachstum die Funktionsweisen vieler gesellschaftlicher
Systeme durchdrungen und diese wachstumsabhängig gemacht. Ziel muss es sein, diese
Abhängigkeit aufzulösen und Perspektiven für eine Postwachstumsgesellschaft zu entwickeln.

History of the Future of Economic Growth: Historical Roots of Current Debates on Sustainable Degrowth

The publisher about the book: The future of economic growth is one of the decisive questions of the twenty-first century. Alarmed by declining growth rates in industrialized countries, climate change, and rising socio-economic inequalities, among other challenges, more and more people demand to look for alternatives beyond growth. However, so far these current debates about sustainability, post-growth or degrowth lack a thorough historical perspective.
This edited volume brings together original contributions on different aspects of the history of economic growth as a central and near-ubiquitous tenet of developmental strategies. The book addresses the origins and evolution of the growth paradigm from the seventeenth century up to the present day and also looks at sustainable development, sustainable growth, and degrowth as examples of alternative developmental models. By focusing on the mixed legacy of growth, both as a major source of expanded life expectancies and increased comfort, and as a destructive force harming personal livelihoods and threatening entire societies in the future, the editors seek to provide historical depth to the ongoing discussion on suitable principles of present and future global development.
History of the Future of Economic Growth is aimed at students and academics in environmental, social, economic and international history, political science, environmental studies, and economics, as well as those interested in ongoing discussions about growth, sustainable development, degrowth, and, more generally, the future.

Table of Contents

Introduction: the end of economic growth in long-term perspective – Iris Borowy and Matthias Schmelzer

1 Seventeenth-century origins of the growth paradigm – Gareth Dale

2 Growth unlimited: the idea of infinite growth from fossil capitalism to green capitalism – Jean-Baptiste Fressoz and Christophe Bonneuil

3 The end of gold? Monetary metals studied at the planetary and human scale during the classical gold standard era – Andrea Westermann

4 Gross domestic problem: how the politics of GDP shaped society and the world – Lorenzo Fioramonti

5 Development and economic growth: an intellectual history – Stephen Macekura

6 Economic growth and health: evidence, uncertainties, and connections over time and place – Iris Borowy

7 An incompatible couple: a critical history of economic growth and sustainable development – Jeremy L. Caradonna

8 Sustainable degrowth: historical roots of the search for alternatives to growth in three regions – Barbara Muraca and Matthias Schmelzer

Una possibile lettura della storia dell’economia del monachesimo occidentale

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

The End of Growth? – NEF weekly podcast

Can our economies keep growing? If not, what next?

Kirsty speaks with Olivier Vardakoulias, economist at NEF. The talk is about the current (2016) economic situation in the UK and beyond. Growth has been going down, politics should not build on growth, since there is no growth to be expected. Also mainstream mayor economists speak of stagnation. The talk goes into detail of theories which are around, that explain the no growth which is happening.

Höher, schneller, weiter

Aus dem Artikel: Wirtschaftswachstum gab es nicht immer. Wie konnte es also zur mächtigsten Rechtfertigungsideologie des Kapitalismus werden?

. . . Wirtschaftswachstum erscheint so selbstverständlich, dass leicht vergessen wird, dass nicht nur die Realität ökonomischer Expansion, sondern auch Wachstumsdiskurse erstaunlich neue Phänomene sind. Relevante Wachstumsraten gab es erst seit der kapitalistischen und auf fossilen Brennstoffen basierenden Industrialisierung im 18. Jahrhundert.

Die Konzentration auf Wachstum im modernen Sinne setzte sich erst in der Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts durch. Die internationale Standardisierung der Statistiken, die das Bruttoinlandsprodukt definieren, ermöglichte seit den 1940er Jahren eine über Zeit und Raum vergleichbare und einheitliche Konzeption „der Wirtschaft“. Dadurch wurde überhaupt erst messbar, was wachsen sollte: die Summe der Markttransaktionen im Rahmen nationalstaatlicher Grenzen. . . .

Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and degrowth

Abstract: As a peculiar economist of the twentieth century, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen gave birth to many controversies. Since the 1970s, in particular in the French language literature, Georgescu-Roegen’s ecological claim has often been considered as a promotion of degrowth. In this paper, I challenge this usual interpretation. I conclude that Georgescu-Roegen might be a source of inspiration for degrowth defenders only in a very narrow sense. A cautious reading of his bioeconomic paradigm shows that Georgescu-Roegen’s stance was different from the growth/degrowth debate, and might be more accurately linked with an “agrowth” option.