Commons against and beyond capitalism

Abstract: This essay contrasts the logic underlining the production of ‘commons’ with the logic of capitalist relations, and describes the conditions under which ‘commons’ become the seeds of a society beyond state and market. It also warns against the danger that ‘commons’ may be coopted to provide low-cost forms of reproduction, and discusses how this outcome can be prevented.

Community Development Journal, Vol 49, No S1, January 2014, pp. i92– i105

Ecosocialism and/or degrowth?

Should the ecological left aim to reduce all consumption, or to radically transform the prevalent type of consumption?

 

Emergence of New Economics Energy Transition Models: A Review

Well-known academic and non-academic institutions call for a new approach in economics able to capture features of modern economies including, but not limited to, complexity, non-equilibrium and uncertainty. In this paper, we provide a systematic review of ecological macroeconomic models that are suitable for the investigation of low-carbon energy transitions and assess them based on the features considered desirable for a new approach in economics. We draw two main conclusions: firstly, the knowledge base and structure of these existing ecological macroeconomic models are relevant, alongside other types of models, for the creation of a new approach in economics. Secondly, the reviewed models are policy relevant, especially in the context of the complexity and urgency of rapid energy transitions, where increasingly policymakers require economic models able to capture real-world characteristics. However, further improvements are needed to these models and future research should focus on i) assuring comparability of models’ results and their policy insights, ii) incorporation of the relationships between macroeconomics, finance and sustainability and iii) the institutionalization of a new approach in economics.

Ecological Economics, vol. 177, November 2020

Degrowth Vienna 2020 – An anthropological contribution to degrowth

Presentation [part of the standard session “Communicating Degrowth“]

Social Anthropology has great potential to contribute to degrowth debates and proposals, hardly explored until now. I propose three ways to do so, further exploring one of them, inspired by the question: what can be recovered from the near past, still accessible in the present, for the future? The degrowth project needs new images, ideas, and practices, but it also needs to selectively retrieve those traditional local pre-globalization practices and knowledge aligned with a degrowth society, involving the elders of our society in the creation of pathways for a degrowth transition.

Presenters: Lucía Muñoz Sueiro (The New School, New York)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A2_Lucía Muñoz Sueiro_An anthropological contribution to degrowth.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 55.6MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Transformations Beyond Growth: A Diverse Practices Approach

Presentation [part of the standard session “Communicating Degrowth“]

This talk stages a conversation between diverse economies and practice theory literatures, outlining the distinct paths these two areas of scholarship have taken to explore current patterns of growth. It argues that their simultaneous consideration would benefit radical and critical scholarship, especially in understanding the complexities of social change.

Presenters: Tom Smith (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A2_Tom Smith_Transformations Beyond Growth_ A Diverse Practices Approach.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 96.6MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – The Psychology of Degrowth Adoption: Insights from the Perspectives of the Utopian Impulse and the Regulatory Focus Theory

Presentation [part of the standard session “Communicating Degrowth“]

We investigated how to influence people’s support for degrowth, and whether such influence may be subject to individual differences regarding transformative social change. To do so, we adopted the regulatory focus theory—one of the most widely used theoretical frameworks in social psychology—and used it to frame how degrowth is communicated to people. We also investigated the Utopian Impulse—a core personality trait that determines people’s propensity to pursue transformative social change.

Presenters: Dario Krpan (London School of Economics and Political Science), Frédéric Basso (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A2_Dario Krpan_The Psychology of Degrowth Adoption Insights from the Perspectives of the Utopian Impulse and the Regulatory Focus Theory.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 46.0MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Communicating Degrowth

Standard session (discussion following 4 presentations)

  1. The Psychology of Degrowth Adoption: Insights from the Perspectives of the Utopian Impulse and the Regulatory Focus Theory – video
    We investigated how to influence people’s support for degrowth, and whether such influence may be subject to individual differences regarding transformative social change. To do so, we adopted the regulatory focus theory—one of the most widely used theoretical frameworks in social psychology—and used it to frame how degrowth is communicated to people. We also investigated the Utopian Impulse—a core personality trait that determines people’s propensity to pursue transformative social change.
    Presenters: Dario Krpan & Frédéric Basso
  2. Transformations Beyond Growth: A Diverse Practices Approach – video
    This talk stages a conversation between diverse economies and practice theory literatures, outlining the distinct paths these two areas of scholarship have taken to explore current patterns of growth. It argues that their simultaneous consideration would benefit radical and critical scholarship, especially in understanding the complexities of social change.
    Presenters: Tom Smith
  3. An anthropological contribution to degrowth – video
    Social Anthropology has great potential to contribute to degrowth debates and proposals, hardly explored until now. I propose three ways to do so, further exploring one of them, inspired by the question: what can be recovered from the near past, still accessible in the present, for the future? The degrowth project needs new images, ideas, and practices, but it also needs to selectively retrieve those traditional local pre-globalization practices and knowledge aligned with a degrowth society, involving the elders of our society in the creation of pathways for a degrowth transition.
    Presenters: Lucía Muñoz Sueiro
  4. How to communicate & organize the Degrowth movement better – video
    We argue that strategic, motivation-oriented communications and scalable, mission-centric organising are crucial bottlenecks for the degrowth movement’s success. We have three key recommendations for the movement to master the challenges that climate change communication has struggled with.
    Presenters: Justus Baumann & Vegard Beyer

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A2_Communicating Degrowth_discussion.mkv, Matroska video, 40.7MB

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Degrowth business framework: Implications for sustainable development

Abstract: Recent years have seen a revival in growth scepticism, yet degrowth in relation to the macroeconomic level has received almost exclusive attention. This resulted in a lack of literature on how post-growth and specifically degrowth visions of economy could be implemented, including from the perspective of firms and other organisations. This paper focuses on degrowth literature and fields of knowledge which share a similar or sympathetic perspective regarding the undesirability of economic growth and desirability of living within planetary boundaries while pursuing wellbeing. It then applies degrowth vision to firms and identifies potential elements of a business for a degrowth economy, here referred to as a degrowth business. These elements comprise a degrowth business framework. The framework is centred around the following groups: (1) environment, (2) people and non-humans, and (3) deviation from profit maximisation imperative. It aims to contribute to an emerging discussion on what firms should be like for a degrowth economy and society to be possible.

Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 262, 20 July 2020

Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology

Everywhere anarchism is on the upswing as a political philosophy—everywhere, that is, except the academy. Anarchists repeatedly appeal to anthropologists for ideas about how society might be reorganized on a more egalitarian, less alienating basis. Anthropologists, terrified of being accused of romanticism, respond with silence . . . . But what if they didn’t?

This pamphlet ponders what that response would be, and explores the implications of linking anthropology to anarchism. Here, David Graeber invites readers to imagine this discipline that currently only exists in the realm of possibility: anarchist anthropology.

Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Enacting (de)growth in research practices

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Degrowth Practices“]

In this session we explore how growth logics are embedded in research practices. Then, we critically discuss perspectives from Science and Technology Studies and from the Degrowth community on how to enable the practice and organisation of science that is required for socio-ecological transformations.

Presenters: Ruth Falkenberg (University of Vienna, Department of Science and Technology Studies; Research Platform Responsible Research and Innovation in Academic Practice), David Fox (University of Vienna, Department of Science and Technology Studies)

Language: English

Technical details: Presentation_Ruth_Falkenberg_David_Fox_A6.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 51.0MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Theories of Degrowth Practices

Standard session (discussion following 2 presentations)

  1. Social Work, Ecoanxiety, and Peer Pressure
    Ecoanxiety is a significant component of the global climate crisis; yet it is mostly absent from collective understanding regarding the Grand Challenge to create social responses to the changing environment. Social work has an opportunity to employ positive peer pressure throughout the discipline to overcome ecoanxiety.
    Presenters: Kelly Smith
  2. Enacting (de)growth in research practices – video
    In this session we explore how growth logics are embedded in research practices. Then, we critically discuss perspectives from Science and Technology Studies and from the Degrowth community on how to enable the practice and organisation of science that is required for socio-ecological transformations.
    Presenters: Ruth Falkenberg, David Fox

Language: English

Technical details: Standard A6_Theories of Degrowth Parctices_Ruth Falkenberg and discussion_trimmed.mkv, MPEG-4 video, 56.8MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Anarchism and degrowth: two sides of the same coin

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

This paper will demonstrate why, when envisaging degrowth transitions and strategies for achieving them, it is essential to seriously engage with arguments concerning the limitations of the State in enacting radical systemic change, emanating from the long and fruitful history of anarchist thought.

Presenters: Andro Rilović (International Institute of Social Studies)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Andro Rilovic_Anarchism and degrowth_two sides of the same coin.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 32.5MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Citizens’ Assemblies: A Lever for Political Change

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

In order to develop and implement socio-ecological (economic) policies the processes and structural conditions of representation in democracies today need to be rethought, re-imagined and changed. Citizens’ assemblies can help us to do just that, starting now.

Presenters: Mira Pütz (Sciences Po)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Mira Puetz_Citizens’ Assemblies_ A Lever for Political Change.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 60.6MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Applying insights from transformation research for a strategy for the Degrowth movement

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

This paper applies insights from a review of research on social-ecological transformations, in particular a framework developed to bridge process-oriented and structural approaches, to the Degrowth Movement. It derives suggestions for a common strategy, while embracing the movement‘s diversity.

Presenters: Julia Tschersich (University of Oldenburg)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Julia Tschersich_Applying insights from transformation research for a strategy for the Degrowth movement.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 56.6MB

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Degrowth Vienna 2020 – Structure, Action and Change: A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Preconditions for a Degrowth transition

Presentation [part of the standard session “Theories of Transformation“]

A deprioritization of economic growth in policy making in the rich countries will need to be part of a global effort to re-embed economy and society into planetary boundaries. However, societal support for a degrowth transition remains for the time being moderate, and it is not well understood as yet why this is the case. This paper argues that Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology can help theorize societal stability and transformational change as well as the preconditions for a degrowth transition.

Presenters: Max Koch (Lund University)

Language: English with translation to German

Technical details: Standard A4_Max Koch_Structure, Action and Change_ A Bourdieusian Perspective on the Preconditions for a Degrowth transition.mp4, MPEG-4 video, 66.1MB

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