Integrating Ecology and Economics

By Herman Daly

Attempts to integrate economics and ecology have been based on one of three strategies: (1) economic imperialism; (2) ecological reductionism; (3) steady-state subsystem. Each strategy begins with the picture of the economy as a subsystem of the finite ecosystem. Thus all three recognize limits to growth. The differences concern the way they each treat the boundary between the economy and the rest of the ecosystem, and that has large policy consequences for how we accommodate to limits. read more

Transition Townspeople, We Need To Think About Transition: Just Doing Stuff Is Far From Enough!

By Ted Trainer

The Transition Towns movement, and related initiatives such as Eco-village, Permaculture and Voluntary Simplicity movements, are taking the first steps that must be taken if we are to solve global sustainability and justice problems. But I want to argue that unless they (eventually) undertake significant change in their focus and goals they will fail to make a significant contribution. Transitioners seem to assume that if they continue to establish more community gardens etc. in time, this will fairly automatically result in the emergence of a satisfactory society, and so they need not concern themselves with the distasteful realm of radical politics, confronting capitalism, fundamental structural change and “revolution”. I think this is quite mistaken. read more

Climate Protection and Green Growth are incompatible

By Niko Paech

The legend of green growth depends on three basic principles: (1) Increase of resource-efficiency, (2) closed material flow cycles and (3) renewable energies. However, despite a host of innovations in the field of climate protection, the ecological damages in the area of energy have been and still are on the rise. The process of ecological modernization reveals itself as a history of technological failures and relocation of the ecological damages in space, time and systems. In addition, even the social niches in which progressive ecological lifestyles began to spark at the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s are already drowned in a flood of material build-up, digitalization, pollution through one-way packaging and – first and foremost – air traffic. read more

“Wachstumsrücknahme”, “Postwachstum”, “Entwachsen”? An introduction to concepts and approaches of the German degrowth movement

By Matthias Schmelzer

The following article is a translation from the forthcoming “Atlas der Globalisierung”, that will be edited by Le Monde diplomatique and the Kolleg Postwachstumsgesellschaften (Universität Jena) under the title “Less is More. The Postgrowth-Atlas” (“Weniger wird mehr. Der Postwachstums-Atlas”.

Postwachstum. Degrowth. Décroissance. These are buzzwords of a newly emerging social movement of activists and academics who criticize the dominant development model of continuous capitalist and material growth in industrialized countries. Most characteristically, however, they search for alternatives – which different approaches are discussed? read more

No good life in a bad life? – Experiences of degrowth-oriented actors in a growth economy

By Jasmin Wiefek and Bernd Sommer

“Wrong life cannot be lived rightly”: This famous dictum by Theodor W. Adorno1 highlights the difficulty of finding a way to individually pursue a good life in a world that is characterised by inequality, exploitation and various forms of domination. However, this question has so far mainly been dealt with theoretically or as an ethical issue2. For our study, we chose a different approach: By applying Adorno’s assumption to the representatives of the current degrowth movement, we dealt with it empirically. More precisely, we sought to identify the possibilities and barriers for degrowth-oriented actors in a growth-dominated economy. read more