As we look back on 2020 we see how Covid-19 has made it starkly clear to all of us that globally something is deeply, systemically wrong. As Arundhati Roy stated a portal has opened that demands we change our lives. Those of us cocooned at home working on zoomland, or those of us struggling with economic uncertainty and compromised health, have become even more aware of how important relations with others are, how fragile our environment is, and how well-being in place matters.
Our societies are facing multiple interconnected challenges, which include climate emergency, an unprecedented loss of biodiversity, growing inequality and plastic pollution. What connects these challenges is the underlying capitalist economic model, which prioritizes profit-making over wellbeing and requires endless economic growth simply to stay afloat.
Degrowth is a movement that explores another direction for society, one where ecological and social justice become possible, along with more meaningful lives. While there is no single definition for degrowth, this entry attempts to offer some guidance for understanding degrowth in all its diversity.
It’s been about a week since the 2020 presidential election in the United States was called for former-Vice President Joe Biden, and the dust has anything but settled. As a new presidential administration prepares to replace the current one (which has openly declared its refusal to leave), where does this leave the degrowth movement in the United States?
Perspectives from Eastern Europe and particularly Russia are so far underrepresented in degrowth debates. Translated from its original Russian, the piece below showcases an interview with a prominent British-Russian academic, Teodor Shanin, discussing degrowth in the Russian context through the lens of agriculture. Accordingly, it enables new audiences to gain an insight into this underrepresented geographical perspective on degrowth.
In a recent op-ed published in Le Monde, French economist – and Emmanuel Macron’s economic program inspirer – Jean Pisani-Ferry argued that economic growth was necessary to fight against climate change and called for eco-productivism. The following op-ed is a reply to Pr. Pisani-Ferry that was originally published in Le Monde (in French).
The prospects for Earth’s biological diversity look increasingly bleak. The urgency of global efforts to preserve biodiversity long predates the COVID-19 crisis, but the pandemic has added new dimensions to the problem.read more
October 1st marked the 10th anniversary since squatting was criminalized in the Netherlands. This infamous decision by the Dutch state led to an immense increase of speculation in the housing market, doubling the average cost of housing in just 10 years. ‘Coincidentally’, over the same period homelessness has also doubled, and social inequalities have skyrocketed. All of this before the effects of a global pandemic have even started to set-in. To commemorate the anniversary the Dutch squatting movement organized a nation-wide protest action, emphasizing squatting as a form of resistance against the multidimensional crisis we are currently facing.read more
This piece will close the ten-part degrowth.info series on strategy, highlighting some of the key insights and charting the development of the strategy debate within degrowth. We will then offer some insights on how our own understanding of strategy and degrowth has changed over the last two years since we first urged the community to engage with this topic more. Finally, we will consider the promising idea of a Degrowth International and offer some potential pathways forward for the degrowth movement.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, violence against women is increasing. More women are isolated at home with abusive partners and without resources and opportunities to leave. In Canada, where only a few months ago funding for Ontario rape crisis centres was slashed by $1 million, the political pressure to intervene in gendered violence has increased. read more
On August 14th, an uprising of art installations and happenings emerged in the Old North End neighborhood of Burlington, Vermont. Two days later, they all disappeared.
In the United States, the police-, prison-, and military-industrial complexes serve as the engine that fuels racial capitalism. The expansion of these various but interconnected forms of oppression rests on the subjugation of incarcerated and colonized peoples and on the exploitation of land stolen from Indigenous nations. The abolition of such is necessary in achieving an equitable and sustainable world, in transitioning to a degrowth society. But as long as capital severs any possibility of harmonizing with the very land that feeds us, Black and Indigenous people will continue to die at the hands of the white supremacist project that is the United States.
A degrowth strategy for societal transformation needs to combine several approaches, reflecting the plurality of degrowth as a movement. To support the myriad of bottom-up alternatives that are already out there, degrowth should put a special emphasis on strategies which build power outside of the capitalist system, be very cautious of those which merely seek to tame capitalism, but also integrate the strategic logic of overthrowing capitalism altogether.
I feel personally guilty for the pandemic. At the beginning of March, I published my PhD dissertation “The Political Economy of Degrowth”, whose introduction ended with the following words: “Let me invite you into a wild thought experiment. Imagine that in one year, it will all stop. In precisely 365 days, the economy will come to a halt. Imagine the economy gone and all of us frozen in social time, suspended between the past and the future. A societal time is up.”read more