“Alternatives to Sustainable Development: Buen vivir, Degrowth and Eco-Swaraj”

From Federico Demaria

A longer version of their article in The Guardian (which was in fact based upon this one).

The question I would raise is: how should we relate the multiplicity of emerging alternative frameworks? Alternatively, how do we retain the specificity of these imaginaries related to each historical, social, cultural, and economic context while contributing to their alliance/convergence? I ask this because of the importance of not substituting (sustainable) development with another buzzword, which would risk uniformizing the debate once again. Yet, it is clear that certain characteristics—like thermodynamics—are universal.

Development (2015) 57(3–4), 362–375. doi:10.1057/dev.2015.24

Buen Vivir, Degrowth and Ecological Swaraj: Alternatives to sustainable development and the Green Economy

Ashish Kothari, Federico Demaria and Alberto Acosta


This article proposes that the ‘Green Economy’ is not an adequate response to the unsustainability and inequity created by ‘development’ (a western cultural construct), and puts forward alternative socio-environmental futures to (and not of) development. ‘Sustainable development’ is an oxymoron. Therefore, instead of the ‘post-2015 development agenda’, we argue in favour of the ‘2015 post-development agenda’. We discuss Buen Vivir from Latin America, Degrowth from Europe and Ecological Swaraj (or Radical Ecological Democracy) from India. The intention is to outline that there is politics beyond a unilinear future, unsustainable and unjust, consisting primarily of economic growth.


well-being; environmental justice; sustainability; economic growth; equity; sustainable development

Full article at: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/development/journal/v57/n3-4/full/dev201524a.html

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1 Response to “Alternatives to Sustainable Development: Buen vivir, Degrowth and Eco-Swaraj”

  1. Pingback: Buen Vivir, Plurinacionalidad y Derechos de la Naturaleza en el debate constituyente | Nature Rights Watch

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