I just ran across these three books that followers of this site might find interesting.
Economic growth isn’t working, and it cannot be made to work. Offering a counter-history of how economic growth emerged in the context of colonialism, fossil-fueled industrialization, and capitalist modernity, The Future Is Degrowth argues that the ideology of growth conceals the rising inequalities and ecological destructions associated with capitalism, and points to desirable alternatives to it.
“Capitalism is clearly destroying the planet. If socialists want to offer a real alternative to profit-driven catastrophe, they need to rethink deeply ingrained assumptions and abandon ruinous habits. Building a society that operates within ecological constraints requires an unleashing of our political imaginations, and this book helps us do just that. You may not agree with every word of this bold and provocative book, but it raises urgent and necessary questions that the left must grapple with before it’s too late.”
The reality of runaway climate change is inextricably linked with the mass consumerist, capitalist society in which we live. And the cult of endless growth, and endless consumption of cheap disposable commodities, isn’t only destroying the world, it is damaging us and our way of being. How do we stop the impending catastrophe, and how can we create a movement capable of confronting it head-on? In Alternative Prosperity, philosopher Kate Soper offers an urgent plea for a new vision of the good life, one that is capable of delinking prosperity from endless growth. Instead, Soper calls for renewed emphasis on the joys of being that are currently being denied, and shows the way to creating a future that allows not only for more free time, and less conventional and more creative ways of using it, but also for fairer and more fulfilling ways of working and existing. This is an urgent and necessary intervention into debates on climate change.
Aaron Vansintjan writes: I am very excited to share that the book The Future Is Degrowth: A Guide to a World Beyond Capitalism, by Matthias Schmelzer, Andrea Vetter, and myself will be released by Verso Books this Tuesday, June 28.
A half-century long strategy, led by corporations, Wall Street, governments, and central banks, is coming undone. As a result, the West’s authorities now face an impossible choice: push conglomerates and states into cascading bankruptcies or allow inflation to go unchecked.
ATHENS – The blame game over surging prices is on. Was it too much central-bank money being pumped out for too long that caused inflation to take off? Was it China, where most physical production had moved before the pandemic locked down the country and disrupted global supply chains? Was it Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine took a large chunk out of the global supply of gas, oil, grains, and fertilizers? Was it some surreptitious shift from pre-pandemic austerity to unrestricted fiscal largesse?
From: Mike Nickerson <Sustain5>
Sun., 19 Jun. 2022 5:12
Subject: GPI; A Better Way to Guide Our World
In a recent talk, Ron Colman made the case for using a spectrum of social, environmental and economic indicators to guide society through these challenging times.
It is absurd to add the costs of weather related disasters to GDP and think we are better off, while that same GDP measure completely ignores pollution, the depletion of natural resources, inequality and the work of raising families. A Genuine Progress Index (GPI) reveals much more.
With moving clarity, Colman explained why, when assessing how society is doing, we need to track emerging problems and opportunities as well as ongoing volumes of production and consumption.
Dr. Colman’s talk, and the discussion following, are at: https://tinyurl.com/2yz677uk
I highly recommend that you watch this video. We may yet elect to open our eyes to the circumstances surrounding us. It would greatly enhance our future prospects.
In the first of a Red Pepper series on ‘neoliberalism’, Gregk Foley traces the birth of an economic ideology
Neoliberal economic theory emerged after World War II, spearheaded by Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, and later by America’s Milton Friedman.
The objective was to create a market that was truly free, global, and limitless – for capital, if not for human beings. The principles of individual liberty, rights to private property and a free market were radically reasserted, and it is this aspect that underscores the ‘neo’ [new] in neoliberalism.
Neoliberalism’s translation from theory to practice is associated with three figures. Firstly, in 1973, Chile’s democratically-elected leader Salvador Allende was overthrown by a CIA-backed coup and replaced with Augusto Pinochet, a military dictator who allowed a group of Friedman-educated economists known as the ‘Chicago Boys’ to turn Chile into a laboratory for neoliberal policy.
Later, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher translated neoliberalism’s hostility to the state into a rallying-cry against ‘big government’ interfering in people’s lives.
An email from April 26, 2016 – still (or more) relevant today!
“…a focus on “overpopulation” distracts attention away from what is the most serious issue to be confronted right now: overconsumption of natural resources fueled by an economic system that demands continual growth, not in order to sustain the global population so much as to accumulate tremendous wealth in the hands of a very few people. Until this obscene inequity, and the economic system driving it, is adequately addressed all the attention to overpopulation in the world will do nothing to halt our environmental crisis.”
An example of a social and economic model not beholden to the “Church of Growth” attended by the pharmaceutical transnationals
Preparing for the next pandemic will require more than a commitment from delegates at the World Health Assembly. It requires a structural shift toward a fairer framework of global health, where power is distributed more equitably via a social business model of vaccine and drug production. Social business is the form of business which is built on the principle of solving human problems in a sustainable business way, where owners are not interested in taking any profit except for the return of the original investment amount over a period of time. It’s a non-dividend company aimed at solving social problems, not personal money-making. Muhammad Yunus May 28, 2022
Why Do We Swallow What Big Oil and the Green Movement Tell Us? https://nyti.ms/3a97hvd
If you can’t install the transmission lines — to get that sun and wind power from the vast open spaces where it is generated to the big urban areas where it is needed — and if you cannot set aside more land to install the scale of solar and wind farms you need to replace coal, gas or nuclear, it doesn’t matter that your renewables are cheaper on a per-kilowatt-hour basis.
Nearly half of existing fossil fuel production sites need to be shut down early if global heating is to be limited to 1.5C, the internationally agreed goal for avoiding climate catastrophe, according to a new scientific study.
Degrowth and the City: multiscalar strategies for the socio-ecological transformation of space and place
Degrowth is both an academic debate and an activist call for a necessary socio-ecological transformation. It proposes a just and selective quantitative reduction of societal throughput to achieve ecological sustainability, social justice and individual well-being. What does such a transformation imply for cities, for place and space in general? Recently research has begun to explore this question, at the intersections of the degrowth project with geography, urban and planning studies. The present systematic review of this stream of the degrowth literature argues that contributions convincingly criticise mainstream solutions of sustainable urban development and portray an inspiring variety of local and sectoral alternatives. They also discuss the possibilities of spatial planning for degrowth. But the literature, related to a limited conceptualisation of space, lacks consideration for larger geographical scales (localism is prevalent). Also, limited attention is paid to material flows (the focus is on formal outcomes in the built environment) and there sometimes is a lack of reflection about positionality (with a tendency to apparently universalist solutions).
Drawing in particular on Doreen Massey’s conceptualisation of the relationality of space and place, a conceptual framework is proposed for further research. It evidences questions neglected in the reviewed literature: how to spatialise degrowth beyond the local scale, not reducing the argument to a dualism between local=good and global=bad? And, how to transform not only the physicality of places but also the material and immaterial relations they are based on? This framework, embracing a situated, relational and multiscalar understanding of space and its socio-ecological transformation, might be a first step in approaching these and other open questions in the debate on degrowth, cities and space.
Degrowth; urban degrowth; urban geography; localism; multiscalarity; relational space