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
The following text is a repost of an open letter to the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, setting out a manifesto for a reorganisation of the city in response to COVID-19. The manifesto currently has over 1600 signatures. Visit the manifesto website for more details and to add your signature: manifiesto.perspectivasanomalas.org/en
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.
On October 1st, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno announced a series of economic measures for the country, including the elimination of gasoline and diesel subsidies and the liberalization of their prices, as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These measures led to the eruption of massive nationwide protests for eleven consecutive days, which were met by the government with fierce repression. Despite the repression, protests did not yield and ultimately made the Government back down and derogate these unpopular measures. The protests in Ecuador have important lessons for thinking social justice in environmental policies, and climate policies in particular.read more
Given the strategic indeterminacy of the degrowth movement that has been discussed in earlier articles within this series, we will consider the role that policy may play within the broader scope of a degrowth transformation and as one important focus within a plurality of movements. Specifically, working to move the focus of policy towards instruments that shift the rules of the competitive environment towards a more inclusive and sustainable mode of production, and away from an assumed need for economic growth, may be a significant point of leverage toward a degrowth transition. We are focusing on policy because a macroeconomic policy agenda for a post-growth economy, which is concrete and widely endorsed by the community, is a crucial foundation for achieving real change.read more
Among the proposals of how to address the climate crisis, calls for a Green New Deal (GND) have recently gained a lot of traction. Riccardo Mastini’s article laid out much of the content of current GND proposals as well as criticism from the degrowth perspective. While critical scrutiny is absolutely crucial to ensure that ideas for change truly live up to their goals it is also important to figure out if, and on what grounds, different movements can come together in their struggles. I will therefore take up Kallis’ (2019) conclusion and ask: ‘What about degrowth and a Green New Deal? The opponent is formidable and what we need are alliances, not divisions’.
Against the background of a looming ecological collapse and extreme socio-economic inequality, growth-critical scholars and activists debate various eco-social policies that can facilitate transitions towards genuinely environmentally sustainable and socially equitable societies. Such policies include work sharing, time-banks, job guarantees, complementary currencies and minimum income schemes. A policy that is frequently mentioned in the growth-critical literature, yet rarely discussed in any depth, is maximum limits (or caps) on wealth and income. Seen from a degrowth perspective, the attraction of such caps is not only that they could potentially pave the way for societies that are more equitable; it is also that they could hamper the ability of the richest individuals to lead ecologically harmful lifestyles by making them economically worse off. The latter is significant given that ‘the richest 1% may emit 30 times more than the poorest 50%, and 175 times more than the poorest 10%’.[i]read more
Environmental protection is needed because we take useful things out of nature and put useless or harmful things back in. The resulting depletion and pollution have reached harmful, unsustainable levels. We know that voluntary behaviour change, led by an elite that encourages, fosters and politely ‘nudges’ the masses, won’t do it. Legislated solutions are needed on the principle of ‘I will if you also have to’.