Why we need a new story

In 1971 a geologist called Earl Cook evaluated the amount of energy ‘captured from the environment’ in different economic systems. Cook discovered then that a modern city dweller needed about 230,000 kilocalories per day to keep body and soul together. This compared starkly to a hunter-gatherer, 10,000 years earlier, who needed about 5,000 kcal per day to get by.


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Degrowth is anything but a strategy to reduce the size of GDP | degrowth.de

While agreeing with many points of van den Bergh’s excellent review of the growth versus climate debate, I would like point to to a fundamental misrepresentation of the quoted research on degrowth: degrowth is not a strategy “aimed at reducing the size of the GDP”.

In fact, the degrowth proposition is that the relationship between fossil fuels/carbon emissions and GDP growth is mutual, and that a serious climate policy will slow down the economy, and a slower economy will emit less carbon – notwithstanding historical exceptions such as collapsing regimes burning their fossil fuels. Viable scenarios for successfully limiting climate change at a 2 0C rise involve both a slowing of the economy and a reduction of its carbon content. The question then is how to slow down while securing wellbeing?


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Zimbabwe as a degrowth “case study”?

Trade on the Streets, and Off the Books, Keeps Zimbabwe Afloat

This NYT article got me thinking about how a crisis like this might contribute to some understanding of how people respond to “degrowth”. Are there any positive or potential elements of community or a transition from capitalism to commoning amidst the tragedy and suffering of Zimbabwe?


“From 2011 to 2014, the percentage of Zimbabweans scrambling to make a living in the informal economy shot up to an astonishing 95 percent of the work force from 84 percent, according to the government.”

“Once one of Africa’s most advanced economies, Zimbabwe has rapidly deindustrialized and shed formal wage-paying jobs, forcing millions like Mr. Chitiyo to hustle on the streets in cities and towns.”


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Degrowth in Movements: Artivism | P2P Foundation

Artivism is not really a movement. It’s more an attitude, a practice which exists on the fertile edges between art and activism. It comes into being when creativity and resistance collapse into each other. It’s what happens when our political actions become as beautiful as poems and as effective as a perfectly designed tool. Artivism is the Clown Army kissing riot shields to push the police away; it’s the Yes Men secretly infiltrating the world’s media pretending to be corporate mouthpieces; it’s when flocks of flamenco dancers shut down banks promoting austerity in Spain; it’s when the Brandalism collective hacks hundreds of bus shelters in the midst of a state of emergency and replaces the adverts with radical messages. What it’s definitely not about is making political art, art about an issue, such as a performance about the refugee crisis, or a video about an uprising. It is not about showing new perceptions of the world, but about changing it. Refusing representation, artivism chooses direct action.


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Video: Giorgos Kallis and Jeroen van den Bergh debate a-growth or degrowth

A 1 hour and 3 minutes video of Giorgos Kallis and Jeroen van den Bergh debating a-growth or degrowth in Barcelona.

Apparently there is a good summary in the first 25 minutes.


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Peer to Peer: A path to Commons Transition

Michael Beuwens and Vasilis Kostakis, 12 January 2017

[An important contribution to a “macro” vision for degrowth?]

What is P2P? And why is it important in building a commons-centric future? These are the questions we try to answer, by tying together four of its aspects:

  1. P2P is a type of social relations in human networks;
  2. P2P is also a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible;
  3. P2P thus enables a new mode of production and exchange;
  4. P2P creates the potential for a transition to an economy that can be generative towards people and nature.

We believe that these four aspects will profoundly change human society. P2P ideally describes systems in which any human being can contribute to the creation and maintenance of a shared resource, while benefiting from it. There is an enormous variety of such systems: from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia to free/open-software projects, to open design and hardware communities, to relocalization initiatives and community currencies.


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Degrowth and Transition debated on Dominican TV show

Transition Network’s Naresh Giangrande was recently in Dominica in the Caribbean, and while there he was part of a show with Earthbook TV which brought him together with Richard Swift, author of ‘SOS Alternatives to Capitalism’ and an editor of the New Internationalist Magazine. The whole thing was presented by Jessica Canham and Timothy Speaks Fishleigh at the Earthbook retreat centre in the mountains of Dominica. A fascinating discussion ensued. [34


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