The case for abandoning GDP – An intersectional perspective Pt. 2 GDP is a flawed guide to prosperity. What else should we measure if we want to do better?
“The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income”. Those were the words of Simon Kuznets, who developed the first national income accounts in the United States. And yet, we look back on decades of appropriating GDP as a measure of social welfare and progress.
As the current default indicator for economic and social ‘progress’, GDP is the most broadly established measure of a country’s economic performance relative to that of other countries. Conceived as a tool to measure economic quantity, GDP is widely used to assess economic quality, although it ignores a range of vital economic activities, most notably care work. read more
If making the degrowth case was like baking a cake, disproving the plausibility of green growth would be the equivalent of turning the oven on. Decoupling is only “a myth” or “a fantasy,” some would say, a notorious fallacy that requires as much attention as the confabulations of Flat Earthers. And yet, faith in decoupling is strengthening in environmental agendas all around the world, including the OECD, European Commission, World Bank, UNEP, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals where it even has its own target.read more
Growth-critical authors and advocates of a post-growth society are often criticized on the grounds that some of their arguments appear open to appropriation by authoritarian nationalist and nativist racist forces. As such objections are often made in a polemical and overly generalised manner, often ultimately aiming to delegitimize growth-critical ideas as a whole, those being criticised often react with angry rejection. Nevertheless, supporters of Post-Growth and Degrowth are well advised to seriously reflext on whether and to what extent their own arguments are in fact amenable to such right-wing appropriation.
At the COP24 conference in Poland, countries are aiming to finalise the implementation plan for the 2015 Paris Agreement. The task has extra gravity in the wake of the recent IPCC report declaring that we have just 12 years to take the action needed to limit global warming to that infamous 1.5ᵒC target.read more
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
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