books, Republished pieces

Strategising Degrowth – book review

Degrowth and Strategy

Review from Steady State Manchester

Barlow, N., Regen, L., Cadiou, N., Chertkovskaya, E., Hollweg, M., Plank, C., Schulken, M., Wolf, & V (Eds.). (2022). Degrowth & strategy: How to bring about social ecological transformation. Mayfly Books. Available Picture of the book, Degrowth and Strategyas paperback or a free download at https://www.degrowthstrategy.org/

The current economic and social system is the antithesis of the Viable Economy and Society. Resting on continued material and economic expansion, it fails to provide adequately for huge swathes of national and global populations, generating inequality and poverty on the many at the same time as it lavishes riches on others. Its constant expansion has reached the limits that the planet’s multiple and interlocked systems can bear, a situation of ecological overshoot, foreshadowing societal collapse.

That we need degrowth can surely be denied no longer, but how do we get it? How can we, those who understand the predicament and the need, and who struggle for something better, how can we get rapid transformation to a just and ecologically continent economy and society?

The business as usual people have a variety of improbable technological fixes, the green growthers have the Green New Deal, with all its problems but degrowthers have, somewhat unjustly, been criticised for not having a strategy. This book is an attempt to fill that perceived gap.

It is the product of an impressive collaboration between activists and scholars from Europe, both Americas, Africa and Asia, although with a majority from continental Europe. It came out of the work of Degrowth Vienna; their regional conference in 2020 focussed specifically on strategies. However, rather than a collection of conference papers, all 44 authors have written pieces specifically for the book. In doing so they all used the framework for exploring strategic change from the work of Eric Olin Wright. …. … …/

/Read the rest of the review at Steady State Manchester

Announcements, events

International Degrowth Conference, Zagreb. Call for proposals is live.

9th International Degrowth Conference, Zagreb.

STOP PRESS: submission deadline extended til 29 Jan.

Conference logo

Planet, People, Care: It Spells Degrowth!

The call for proposals is now live.

Find out more below or at the above links.

After the Hague, Manchester, Malmö, Budapest, Leipzig, Venice, Barcelona and Paris, the 9th International Degrowth Conference is taking place in Zagreb in 2023.

It will sit at the heart of a broader Zagreb Degrowth Week, a free arts and conviviality festival realised in cooperation with neighbouring capitals like Ljubljana, Budapest, Vienna and Belgrade. It will bring together activists, artists, academics, practitioners, political representatives, and the general public in presenting alternative readings of the most recent global shocks and possible pathways to care and resilience, free from the unreflexive imperative of growth for growth’s sake. Participants’ co-creation of a degrowth understanding of the tracks that led to the present calamitous predicament, and the just and environmentally sound ways away from it will be the common aim for the conference gathering.

Zagreb in 2023, like Europe in 2023, like the world at the tail end of this generation’s pandemic is a city reinventing itself for a safer and kinder, even if precarious and climate-constrained century. At the periphery of overdeveloped Europe, we’ve experienced the second shockwave of this century, a worldwide economic and cultural stop-and-think, and will come together to debate and experience how not to falsely fix up the idol of neoliberalism for another decade of extractive oppression and ecological devastation. Our degrowth, post-growth, essential workers, climate justice, zero carbon, school strikes, just transition guests are coming with plans, ideas and strategies on how to build a believable future. We welcome them with open arms and ears, ready to show them how – between the drying Mediterranean and the flooding Central Europe, between ageing north and migrating south, between socialist plan and capitalist extraction – we are building a future we can believe in. 

Announcements, News

New page on this site: Announcements

We have added a new page to the site for announcements.

The first is about a funded PhD studentship on post-growth well-being.

Please do let us have announcements of jobs, studentships, grants, and so on.  Fuller news items will go in the News stream that is the site’s landing page, while events will go on – you guessed it, the Events page.

 

books, News

Degrowth and Strategy

International Book Launch.

Our friends in Degrowth Vienna have recently released a new book titled ‘Degrowth and Strategy‘. The book which has been extremely well received by the wider movement, advances the debate on strategy for social-ecological transformation.

Bringing together voices from degrowth and related movements, ‘Degrowth and Strategy’ explores and identifies key directions for the degrowth movement, and scrutinises strategies in practice that aim to realise a degrowth society. To mark the release of the book, of which a free pdf copy can be accessed here, a two-part webinar has been co-organised with Degrowth Talks.

The first webinar on October 27th  will focus on strategising for degrowth with and within diversity. The second webinar on November 2nd will explore how and to what extent degrowth practices challenge corporate power.

The webinars will be an opportunity to “Celebrate the book’s publication with our international editors, contributors and readers”. Panel discussions will be followed by Q&As.

Part I: October 27th, 20:00-21:30 CET (online)
Strategising for degrowth with and within diversity

with Susan Paulson, Joe Herbert, Livia Regen and Merle Schulken, moderated by Oxana Lopatina

–> Link to recording

Part II: November 2nd, 18:30-20:00 CET (online)
Strategies in practice: challenging corporate power

with Colleen Schneider, Tahir Latif, Mario Díaz and Noémie Cadiou, moderated by Charles Stevenson

–> Link to event

Critique, News

The gathering storm means an urgent change of direction

You will be all too aware of the “perfect storm” now affecting the UK.  Energy costs were already rising, a result of the increasing costs of extraction, and then the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a big further increase.  Since cheap energy is a foundation for advanced economies, the impacts of the price rises were felt across many sectors.  Supply strains on many commodities were already in evidence and again these have been amplified by the war.  As many in the degrowth  movement have been saying for years, our economy and society is vulnerable to supply disruptions.  As if all that was not enough, there has been price-gouging by energy companies and a failure by the UK government to address that problem through the obvious mechanism, price controls.  Not only have they freaked the markets with bizarrely unfunded tax cuts, but a green light has been given to fracking, and probably of more real concern (given that communities won’t stand for fracking and it will be very hard to make it pay anyway) the further exploitation of North Sea oil and gas.  All this with the solemn incantation “growth growth growth”.  So all who oppose are supposedly in the “anti-growth coalition”.  Sadly this is not the case, for although post-growth, degrowth or the steady state economy become ever more credible and advocated by more and more people, the mainstream politicians and commentators still all cling to the growthist consensus.
We know that the energy extraction crunch, together with the climate and ecological crisis, mean that there is no possibility of continued GDP growth, at least if we do want to stay anywhere near the already exceeded safe limits of greenhouse gases and other pollutants and practices that damage the ecosystem.  A newly translated longish but accessible article by Spanish scholars explains this in detail.  Among other things it dispels the illusion that we can simply substitute fossil fuels with renewables and then go on as before.  Do take a look.

Mark H Burton

Uncategorized

Let’s be realistic

Politicians and journalists habitually say, condescendingly, that environmental campaigners are unrealistic in our demands. The problem is not that we are unrealistic. The problem is that we have read the science and are operating with a different understanding of what is realistic.

The response to covid has demonstrated that what is politically and economically unrealistic can change in a few weeks. Two years ago a demand for everyone to stay in their own homes for 23 hours a day was politically unthinkable; 18 months ago nearly everyone complied. In 2007 it was unthinkable that the government would give private banks support worth £1.162 trillion (£1,162,000,000,000, i.e. more than one million million); it was done by 2009. During the second world war businesses were left in private hands but subject to a degree of state direction that would have been unthinkable in 1938.

Scientific realism is not open to such adaptation. Change is happening on a geological scale, a scale that is difficult for us to comprehend. Geological speed is too slow for the human eye to detect the change so we look to the people with the tools to detect the change, the scientists. In geological time, the fifth major extinction was 66 million years ago when three quarters of plants and animals, including the dinosaurs, were driven to extinction by climate change. Then climate change was caused by an asteroid. Today we are living through the sixth major extinction, an outcome of climate change caused by us. The faster the climate changes the more difficult it is for plants, animals and ourselves to adapt.

If we want to limit and slow climate change we have to cut our green house gas emissions fast. Scientists inform us that carbon emissions need to be cut 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 to give us a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C. If all the pledges made at COP26 are met, global emissions in 2030 will be 14% higher than those in 2010. Politicians and journalists tell us that, in terms of political realism, this was a success. To be realistic in scientific terms, it was a failure.

When political and economic realism collides with scientific realism there can be only one winner. Slowly but inexorably scientific realism will grind political realism to dust. Slowly but inexorably more species die. Stewardship of the natural world is not only a moral responsibility, it is in the interest of the vast majority of people. Responsible stewardship requires substantial and rapid action. It is the only realistic response if we want to protect our beautiful world.

by Rebecca Saville

News

New International Degrowth Journal

 Degrowth Journal has launched. They are looking for contributions for the first issue. Click for the call for contributions . For more info on the journal see degrowthjournal.org

Badged very much as an “academic journal”, it is run by an international, independent, non-profit association. The editorial collective is decentralised across various countries (e.g., Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK). The editor is Ben Robra, now based in Vigo, Galicia (Spain).

Degrowth journal is organised as a free, academic, open-access, international, transdisciplinary, and peer-reviewed journal that focuses on advancing the goals of degrowth. It will be published online including open issues and special-issues, and later, rolling submission.

books

Free ebook: A Viable Future

A Viable Future? Explorations in post-growth from Steady State Manchester is a collection of our work from the last decade.  book-front-pic

It is a substantial book, nearly 400 pages.  October, 2021.

Steady State Manchester has been working on degrowth / post-growth / steady state ideas for the last decade.  They have now made available a free collection of their work.

Contributions by Mark H Burton, Carolyn Kagan, James Scott Vandeventer and Mike Riddell.

Find out more on the dedicated page where you can download it, or buy a print version (for just £12 +p&p) .