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
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.
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
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.
Chile despertó, “Chile woke up” reads the main slogan used in the massive protests that have brought Chile to a halt. People flooded the streets demanding deep structural changes in enormous, mainly peaceful protests, the biggest one of which took place on 10/25 gathering more than one million people.read more
Green growth advocates praise resource efficiency for its potential to incentivize the economy and lower its ecological impact. On the other hand, the Jevons Paradox, describes multiple situations (or rebound effects) in which increased efficiency leads to further consumption (either direct or indirect) which offsets the initial ecological benefits achieved. In this piece, I join this discussion by exploring a resource efficiency strategy, achieved through investment in labour (not technology), in which ecological benefits are obtained and rebound effects avoided.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’.
We live nextdoor to my partner’s grandmother, Maria, who was born during the Second World War in Northern Italy. This means that she knows what hard times look like. Maria could not believe we would be using washable diapers for our baby boy. With genuine surprise she asked me, “why?”, and then she was curious in which pot we were planning to boil the diapers. In her eyes, we could not possibly be choosing to use washable diapers – to her, an extinct garment reminiscent of poverty and manual labour – when there exists the comfort of the disposable. Therefore, it must be that we cannot afford disposable diapers. Needless to say, for the first six months of our son’s life, every time Maria went to the supermarket, she bought us a packet of disposable diapers.
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