One of the problems of the last few years, one of the reasons why we have missed different opportunities, is that… we had a stoic, Spartan left, which did not raise the problem of pleasure, understood as dignity for all. A left which has not reasoned differently from the religious message, which promises you a Paradise after death, because our world is a world of suffering. The message of this left is the same: we must suffer now and after the revolution we will be able to conquer happiness. And changing this culture is difficult.
The way the politics of global environmental degradation is studied faces an epistemological challenge with its focus on global governance as the appropriate site for change. Governance research has been driven by the assumption that if research generates convincing evidence, shows linkages and suggests effective solutions, then that will result in normative changes as we expect actors to change their behavior in the face of the appropriate evidence (see e.g. Biermann et al., 2012).
More information at malmo.degrowth.org
6TH INTERNATIONAL DEGROWTH CONFERENCE FOR ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL EQUITY
Call for academic submissions
Degrowth. Décroissance. Decrecimiento. Decrescita. Postwachstum. Nemnövekedés. Nerväxt. These words represent the ambition for a social and ecological transformation of societies beyond the unsustainable and unjust growth paradigm.
Alexander Paulsson (AP): A very warm welcome to all the participants of this roundtable, where we will discuss Degrowth: A vocabulary for a new era published by Routledge in 2015. Giorgos Kallis and Giacomo D’Alisa – co-editors of the book together with Federico Demaria – are here today. Stefania Barca and Ekaterina Chertkovskaya will act as discussants. We will also have plenty of time for general discussion. Giorgos, would you like to start?[*]
Unless we realize that the present market society, structured around the brutally competitive imperative of ‘grow or die’, is a thoroughly impersonal, self-operating mechanism, we will falsely tend to blame technology as such or population growth as such for environmental [and social] problems. We will ignore their root causes, such as trade for profit, industrial expansion, and the identification of ‘progress’ with corporate self-interest.
The logic of growth is dominant in the contemporary political economy and in various notions of social and cultural prosperity (e.g. Friedman 2006; IMF, 2014; Alam, 2008). Under all sorts of regimes, from advanced capitalist market economies to planned economies, progress is usually understood to be dependent on economic expansion through the increasing use of natural resources, the creation of technology, organisational efficiency and the stimulation of consumption. However, increasingly, this dominant logic faces challenge.