By Shaun Chamberlin | November 15, 2018
Our globalised world finds itself caught on the horns of a seemingly impossible dilemma – either cease growing, and so collapse the economy on which we all depend, or continue to grow until we overwhelm and destroy the ecosystems on which we all depend.
Shaun Chamberlin authored the Transition movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline, and has served as both chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative and a director of Global Justice Now. He is the executive producer of 2019 film The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation? and editor of several books, including David Fleming’s posthumous Lean Logic and Surviving the Future. His website is www.darkoptimism.org
Annual Review of Environment and Resources Giorgos Kallis, Vasilis Kostakis, Steffen Lange, Barbara Muraca, Susan Paulson, Matthias Schmelzer
A good (but dense) 26 page overview of degrowth research
1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2
2. HISTORY: ORIGINS OF THE GROWTH PARADIGM . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 4.4
3. ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS: THE LIMITS OF GREEN GROWTH . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6
4. MANAGING WITHOUT GROWTH: THE ECONOMICS OF DEGROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.8
5. ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIAL SCIENCES: STUDIES OF SOCIETIES LIVING WITHOUT GROWTH . 4.11
6. TECHNOLOGY STUDIES AND DEGROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.13
7. POLITICAL SCIENCE: DEMOCRACY AND DEGROWTH . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.16
8. CONCLUSION: A DEGROWTH TRANSITION? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.18
Scholars and activists mobilize increasingly the term degrowth when producing knowledge critical of the ideology and costs of growth-based development. Degrowth signals a radical political and economic reorganization leading to reduced resource and energy use. The degrowth hypothesis posits that such a trajectory of social transformation is necessary, desirable, and possible ; the conditions of its realization require additional study. Research on degrowth has reinvigorated the limits to growth debate with critical examination of the historical, cultural, social, and political forces that have made economic growth a dominant objective. Here we review studies of economic stability in the absence of growth and of societies that have managed well without growth. We reflect on forms of technology and democracy compatible with degrowth and discuss plausible openings for a degrowth transition. This dynamic and productive research agenda asks inconvenient questions that sustainability sciences can no longer afford to ignore.
Federico Demaria, Giorgos Kallis, Karen Bakker
First Published August 21, 2019 Research Article https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848619869689
The term ‘décroissance’ (degrowth) signifies a process of political and social transformation that reduces a society’s material and energy use while improving the quality of life. Degrowth calls for decolonizing imaginaries and institutions from – in Ursula Le Guin’s words – ‘a one-way future consisting only of growth’. Recent scholarship has focused on the ecological and social costs of growth, on policies that may secure prosperity without growth, and the study of grassroots alternatives pre-figuring a post-growth future. There has been limited engagement, however, with the geographical aspects of degrowth. This special issue addresses this gap, looking at the rooted experiences of peoples and collectives rebelling against, and experimenting with alternatives to, growth-based development. Our contributors approach such resurgent or ‘nowtopian’ efforts from a decolonial perspective, focusing on how they defend and produce new places, new subjectivities and new state relations. The stories told span from the Indigenous territories of the Chiapas in Mexico and Adivasi communities in southern India, to the streets of Athens, the centres of power in Turkey and the riverbanks of West Sussex.
September 2 2019
Joseph Stiglitz* – Project Syndicate/ The Guardian
An apparent move by big business to maximise stakeholder value sounds too good to be true
For four decades, the prevailing doctrine in the US has been that corporations should maximise shareholder value – meaning profits and share prices – here and now, come what may, regardless of the consequences to workers, customers, suppliers and communities. So the statement endorsing stakeholder capitalism, signed earlier this month by virtually all the members of the US Business Roundtable, has caused quite a stir. After all, these are the CEOs of the US’s most powerful corporations, telling Americans and the world that business is about more than the bottom line. That is quite an about-face. Or is it?
Monthly Review Online Posted Aug 30, 2019 by Jason Hickel
Ecology , Imperialism , Marxism , Political Economy Global Commentary Featured
Originally published: Real-World Economics Review (March 19, Issue no. 87)
As the climate crisis worsens and the carbon budgets set out by the Paris Agreement shrink, climate scientists and ecologists have increasingly come to highlight economic growth as a matter of concern. Growth drives energy demand up and makes it significantly more difficult –and likely infeasible–for nations to transition to clean energy quickly enough to prevent potentially catastrophic levels of global warming. In recent years, IPCC scientists have argued that the only feasible way to meet the Paris Agreement targets is to actively scale down the material throughput of the global economy. Reducing material throughput reduces energy demand, which makes it easier to accomplish the transition to clean energy.
Ecological economists acknowledge that this approach, known as degrowth, is likely to entail reducing aggregate economic activity as presently measured by GDP. While such a turn might seem inimical to human development, and indeed threaten to trigger a range of negative social consequences, proponents of degrowth argue that a planned reduction of throughput can be accomplished in high-income nations while at the same time maintaining and even improving people’s standards of living. Policy proposals focus on redistributing existing income, shortening the working week, and introducing a job guarantee and a living wage, while expanding access to public goods.
Monthly Review Online Posted Aug 30, 2019 by Jason Hickel
A good although somewhat economistic overview of the process and failure of Swedish labour and social democracy to build worker collective ownership and socialism. Could perhaps be subtitled “lessons from the failure of social democracy for the green new deal” See also the Briarpatch article on degrowth and the green new deal.
This article, submitted to C&C by the Make Rojava Green Again campaign, introduces an important attempt to build a democratic, feminist and ecologist society. We look forward to further discussion of the Rojava project.