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.
A book by Giorgos Kallis
Western culture is infatuated with the dream of going beyond, even as it is increasingly haunted by the specter of apocalypse: drought, famine, nuclear winter. How did we come to think of the planet and its limits as we do? This book reclaims, redefines, and makes an impassioned plea for limits—a notion central to environmentalism—clearing them from their association with Malthusianism and the ideology and politics that go along with it. Giorgos Kallis rereads reverend-economist Thomas Robert Malthus and his legacy, separating limits and scarcity, two notions that have long been conflated in both environmental and economic thought. Limits are not something out there, a property of nature to be deciphered by scientists, but a choice that confronts us, one that, paradoxically, is part and parcel of the pursuit of freedom. Taking us from ancient Greece to Malthus, from hunter-gatherers to the Romantics, from anarchist feminists to 1970s radical environmentalists, Limits shows us how an institutionalized culture of sharing can make possible the collective self-limitation we so urgently need.
Climate action lawsuits against governments and corporations have spread across 28 countries, according to a new analysis. The study reveals that more than 1,300 legal actions concerning climate change have been brought since 1990. While the US – with 1,023 cases – remains the leader in climate litigation, other countries are increasingly seeing individuals, charities and states take action.