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.
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
Hickel succeeds once more in making a clear yet robust case for degrowth, providing an accessible introductory text that the movement has long required.
COVID-19 has had many effects. Among others, it created a pause, putting non-essential economic activity on halt. A pause that has exposed the numerous weaknesses of growth-centred, globalised economies.
COVID-19 is both one and the same as any other ecological crisis (such as climate change) because its emergence is rooted in the same mode of production that has generated all other ecological crises and social inequalities of our times.
In a recent article for Forbes, Corbin K Barthold makes several allegations against the idea of degrowth without having a clear understanding of the concept.
On top of the ethical, environmental and epidemiological arguments, the animal liberation perspective can also provide an alternative historical view on growth. This article explores the historical connections between animal exploitation, growth and violence, and the lessons these offer for degrowth today.
The crises provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed for all what many have long known: the foundations of the wealth and well-being of the world rest upon the sphere of social reproduction and the labor of care. This work is performed primarily by women and, more generally, by people whose work and lives are under-valued and marginalized by sexist, racist, classist, homophobic and ableist ideas and institutions.
In the early 17th century, the bubonic plague is said to have played a crucial role in popping the tulip bubble in the Netherlands. Today, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is leading not only to a health crisis, but also an economic one. The outbreak is sparking realistic fears of a deep global downturn. Our globalised, just-in-time, cost-cutting, risk-taking and profit-maximising economy has shown a rather limited ability to absorb shocks. In a time of crisis, the instability and fragility, but also the inequality of the economic system becomes painfully obvious.read more
Recently, an article on degrowth appeared in Harvard Business Review (hereafter HBR). Rather than offering a critique of capitalism, the article proposes that degrowth may not be a threat to business after all, and in fact, there are burgeoning degrowth markets waiting to be tapped into by the risk averse. Although we applaud the authors in getting the word “degrowth” into the illustrious pages of HBR, we take serious issue with the all too familiar ways in which this word and its radical connotations have been stretched.
Last summer, Matthias Schmelzer and Andrea Vetter, both from the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie in Leipzig, published the book ‘Degrowth/Postwachstum’. With this book, they provide the first introduction to degrowth in German. For lack of a good German translation of ‘degrowth’ they use ‘Postwachstum’ more or less as a synonym. First they describe how our societies came to depend on growth, and they present various strands of criticism on growth. After that, they discuss definitions of degrowth, goals of the movement, they present concrete proposals, and discuss the strategy.
Previous global ‘efforts’ to tackle climate breakdown have failed dramatically, because they have been based on a fundamentally flawed economic paradigm: growth.
The concept of growth is an altar at which economists, politicians and businesspeople across the political spectrum have worshipped for decades. Unfortunately, where the planet’s long-term habitability is concerned, it is this obsession with growth which may ultimately be our undoing.
Degrowth scholars and activists often turn to past cases of social or socioecological transformation for inspiration to inform transformative action in the present. Yet, there has so far been insufficient awareness of the bias that comes with using any historical analogy. The insights provided by historical analogies are limited, but can fruitfully complement analyses of the present and future-oriented visions of societal change. read more