Sport and (de)growth: what type of competition makes us happier?

Training, selection, peaking, workloads, etc. are common notions associated with our growth-oriented, capitalist society. However, these concepts are also inherent in elite sport as well, where ‘the winner takes all’. Thus the logic of modern sport resembles the capitalist milieu in which it has evolved: individualism, competitiveness, peak performance, and productivity are all essential components. Modern elite sport is also often depicted as being a remedy to society’s ills, making sport a linchpin of the population’s well-being: empowering control over health, educating people to reach their goals or serving as a good example for future generations. But there is a danger that modern sport is primarily becoming a tool for generating profit.
The aim of this paper is to formally examine how sport is related to the principles of degrowth, and its potential impact on subjective well-being. Health maintenance, enjoyment, cooperation and fun are also words which can be used to characterize sport. Using data on self-reported attitudes toward sport and in-depth interviews with Hungarian Olympians, sport-loving amateurs and sport-ignorants, we test the impact of elite sport on happiness. We hypothesize that the well-being factor associated with elite sport is questionable. The comparatively different attitudes toward sport which exist depend on qualifications, and the positive relationships between involvement in leisure sport and well-being for both males and females. We conclude that there is a potential role for leisure sport in spreading the idea of degrowth, while the problems of elite sport have much in common with the problems inherent in a growth-based society.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Sport and (de)growth: what type of competition makes us happier?“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

Critique to neoliberalism & orthodox economics

Short-interview with Nadia Johanisova from the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona.

Non-Growth Market Economies

Poster and transcription of an poster session by Stephan Wolf at the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona with the title “Non-Growth Market Economies”.

Auto Mobil Krise

Zeitschrift «Luxemburg»

LuXemburg 3/2010 untersucht Kultur, Ökologie und Ökonomie der Autogesellschaft, die Krisen, Kämpfe und Strategien in der Automobilindustrie

Die Autoindustrie präsentiert sich als Vorreiter und globaler Leitmarkt. Von den Krisen wird geschwiegen: Seit Jahrzehnten wird zu viel produziert. Das verschärft die Konkurrenz – die in erster Linie die Beschäftigten trifft. Die Hersteller in Europa und Nordamerika wollen die Produktion von Autos verdoppeln; die machtvollen Konkurrenten in Asien verfolgen dasselbe Ziel. Das Go Green der Autoindustrie soll den alten Weg individueller Mobilität verlängern und das Geschäftsmodell mit verändertem Antrieb fortführen. An den Problemen und Strukturen des Individualverkehrs ändert das wenig: viele Tote und Verletzte, rasch wachsende Verkehrsdichte, Versiegelung der Böden, wachsender Verbrauch von zum Teil hoch giftigen und umkämpften Ressourcen wie Lithium. Um profitable Positionen auf dem Weltmarkt zu gewinnen, kaufen sie Arbeitskräfte; um sich in den neuen Krisen halten zu können, entlassen sie sie wieder. «Wettbewerbskorporatismus» sichert keine Arbeitsplätze: Global Player wie Daimler oder VW behaupten sich gut in der globalen Konkurrenz, «zuhause» bauen sie seit Jahrzehnten Beschäftigung ab. Dieses Heft untersucht Kultur, Ökologie und Ökonomie der Autogesellschaft, die Krisen, Kämpfe und Strategien in der Automobilindustrie.
(Beschreibung der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung)

Die vollständige Ausgabe der Zeitschrift kann auf der Internetseite der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung kostenlos herungergeladen werden.

ISBN-13: 978-3899658545

Das befremdliche Überleben des Neoliberalismus

Spätestens als Lehman Brothers im September 2008 Insolvenz anmelden mußte, hatte es für einen kurzen Moment den Anschein, als habe die letzte Stunde des Neoliberalismus geschlagen: Nachdem das Mantra vom Markt und von der Privatisierung seit den siebziger Jahren in aller Munde war, sollten nun die Regierungen eingreifen, um systemrelevante Banken zu retten. Die Kompetenz der Wirtschaftsführer stand massiv in Frage. Heute, nur drei Jahre später, bekommen die Manager wieder riesige Boni. Zur Refinanzierung der Rettungspakete werden Sozialleistungen gekürzt. Die Logik des radikalen Wettbewerbs und des unternehmerischen Selbst prägt nach wie vor unsere Mentalität.

Wie ist das möglich? Diese Frage stellt Colin Crouch in seinem großen neuen Essay. Der Autor des vielbeachteten Bestsellers Postdemokratie zeichnet die Ideengeschichte des Neoliberalismus nach und betont, daß der Konflikt Staat vs. Markt zu kurz greift: Es sind die gigantischen transnationalen Konzerne, unter denen die Demokratie und das Marktmodell leiden. Doch wir können uns wehren, indem wir uns auf unsere Werte und unsere Macht als Verbraucher besinnen. Das ist Crouchs optimistische Vision einer sozialen und demokratischen Marktwirtschaft.
(Beschreibung des Verlags)

Link zur Leseprobe

ISBN: 978-3-518-42274-8

Das unternehmerische Selbst. Soziologie einer Subjektivierungsform

Die Maxime »Handle unternehmerisch!« ist der kategorische Imperativ der Gegenwart. Ein unternehmerisches Selbst ist man nicht, man soll es werden. Und man wird es, indem man sich in allen Lebenslagen kreativ, flexibel, eigenverantwortlich, risikobewußt und kundenorientiert verhält. Das Leitbild ist zugleich Schreckbild. Was alle werden sollen, ist auch das, was allen droht. Der Wettbewerb unterwirft das unternehmerische Selbst dem Diktat fortwährender Selbstoptimierung, aber keine Anstrengung vermag seine Angst vor dem Scheitern zu bannen. Ulrich Bröcklings grundlegende soziologische Studie nimmt diese Ambivalenz in den Blick und spitzt sie zu einer Diagnose der gegenwärtigen Gesellschaft zu.
(Beschreibung des Verlags)

ISBN: 978-3-518-29432-1

Economic Growth and Normative Innovations

Abstract: In the prevalent view competition in saturated markets leads to a race-to-the-bottom, i.e. to a social, sociopolitical and ecological deregulation since competitive advantages are only viable by cost reductions due to the depletion of standards. In the present research project a contrary position is theoretically claimed and empirically tested. The main proposition is that low growth rates due to exhausted technical innovations produce normative innovations (self-reglation). Normative is to be called every instrumentally irrational innovation, which abstains from specific technical rational means and substitutes them with ambitious and normative appropriate means based on social, ethical, ecological or religious reasons. However, before normative innovations can be a sales pitch technical improvements and economies of scale have to be maxed out, hence a producer can risk to introduce new quality features if there is no chance to be undercutted by already established quality features. In a consumer’s view high prices for normative features can be justifiable if the technical maximum standard is already reached.

There is no paper for this media entry. This was a contribution to a scientific session at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014, which doesn’t exist in written format or is not published under open access.

The threat of (not) being exploited: How inequality promotes growth dispositions

Abstract: In discussions about the main growth drivers in our societies, two explanations often collide: a cultural account of growth dispositions and an economic account of capitalist growth imperatives. The planned contribution aims at bridging the gap between these accounts. Its central idea is that flexible global capitalism increasingly binds exploitation to the relative weakness and strength of integral social positions, forcing ever more people to translate structural constraints into cultural habitudes. On this basis, we want to map the cultural effects of diversified exploitation and virtually universalized positional competition. Specifically, we want to analyze a) which micro-mechanisms of growth depend on recent innovations of capitalism, b) how the promise and threat of exploitation (or exclusion) still can be revealed as a driving force, and c) which socio-economic risks keep people from choosing degrowth options which would be both more sustainable and more pleasant.
Keywords: Capitalism, exploitation, competition, culture

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Degrowth and social inequality: Eating the rich or governing the poor?” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.

There is no paper for this media entry. This was a contribution to a scientific session at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014, which doesn’t exist in written format or is not published under open access.

Sustainable Finances for Society: The consideration of a Certification Program

Abstract: Sustainable development is an ongoing process based on a set of principles that have to continue to spread throughout all economic activities. Looking at the current economic scenario, the transformation of the financial sector appears crucial. I first define a working definition of sustainable finances. Powerful drivers towards sustainable practices in strong profit-oriented markets are sustainable consumer behaviour and social expectations. Mixed methodology is used to analyse the current and future scenarios of sustainable finances from the consumer perspective. The study focuses on the potential to foster sustainability and on the long-term competitiveness. Although there are strengths and opportunities for further development, there are also threats that need immediate solutions. As a consequence of the financial crisis, society is seeking new alternatives and sustainable finances should be considered as an indispensable one. Public mistrust leads to the necessity of supporting and protecting those truly sustainable initiatives. A third party certification system as a tool to protect and enhance the adequate development of sustainable finances is discussed.