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

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.

events, News

Manchester Joint Degrowth and Ecological Economics Conference: 5-8 July online.

5th – 8th JULY 2021

updated 20 August, 2021

The International Online Joint Conference of the international degrowth research networks, the International Society for Ecological Economics and the European Society for Ecological Economics,  hosted by University of Manchester took place between 5-8 July, 2021.  Despite the global pandemic meaning that it had to be an online event, it was a great success with four days of up to 13 parallel sessions of symposia, workshops and free papers.  There were also some excellent plenary sessions.

The legacy website. has the programme, book of abstracts and link to the plenary videos.  Further videos may be made available later.

https://www.isee-esee-degrowth2021.net/

News

The Post Growth Challenge

The Post Growth Challenge

To view the results of the challenge, CLICK HERE – takes you to (Steady State Manchester’s website).

The original call for submissions follows
__________________________________________________________________________________
Calling writers, artists, designers and video makers.
Can you make a Post Growth Policy Package?

An initiative from Steady State Manchester, in collaboration with the Manchester Meteor and the Systems Change Alliance.

What?

A cooperative challenge to find a better way to present the post-growth alternative.

Why?

Over the last two years, various Green New Deals have become very popular. This demonstrates that a set of policy ideas can be effectively communicated by combining them into one positive package.

In contrast, the ideas and proposals of the degrowth, post-growth and steady state economy movements can appear complex, vague, negative and unattractive. Can we overcome that disadvantage by trying to do what the Green Dealers have done and present a Post-Growth Deal? There’s one way to find out – let’s try it!

How?

We invite you to present your Post Growth Policy package.

It needs to be presented in straightforward, concise, easy to understand, and attractive terms, without denying the real difficulties involved in reducing the material and energy throughput of our economies.

This could be done as,

  • A short policy briefing – of up to 600 words (you can use appendices to go into deeper detail).

Or…

  • You could present it in graphic terms, as an ‘infographic’, a cartoon or a comic strip, for example.

Or…

  • You could make a short video (max 5 minutes) to get your ideas over.

Or..

  • Maybe you’ve an even better idea for how to present it– the choice is yours.

Who?

Anyone who is interested in creating an economy that can sustainably support life on Earth.

We anticipate two classes of entry.

A)   Those focussing on a post-growth future in the specific context of Greater Manchester.

And

B)    Those with proposals for national or inter-state (European Union, ALBA, Mercosur, UN, etc. etc.) implementation.

When?

Send us your entries by midnight, GMT, Wednesday 31 March, 2021extended deadline.

How and where?

Entries should be sent to steadystatemanchester[AT]gmail.com

Articles, briefings, stories, or infographics should be sent in the form of an email attachment. They can be wordprocessor documents ( .odt, .doc, .docx), pdf files, or image files (.jpg, .png, ..gif, .svg). Please keep attachments to less than 2 megabytes in size. For anything larger, compress it or send as a file link (e.g. using dropbox, box, spideroak, google).

Videos should be uploaded to a video hosting platform and a link sent to the above email address.

We will acknowledge entries.

Prizes!

“Everybody has won and all must have prizes.”

All participants will receive a printed copy of our pamphlet, “The Viable Economy … and Society”. The entry that we like best in each class will be presented with a tee-shirt with the Steady State Manchester logo1. Wear it at events, or wear it in bed: we don’t mind!

Most important, though will be that we will publicise the best entries, through our various local and international networks.

In addition we might invite the creator of our favourite Greater Manchester entry to jointly nominate a local post-growth organisation for a small grant.

Rights

All entries will be made under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This allows anyone to share the work in its original form, so long as they give proper attribution to the creator.

1  So long as we have your size available.

 

events, News

Event: Envisioning a sustainable future in Northampton

WEBINAR – Envisioning a sustainable future in Northampton
Northampton University – Faculty of Business and Law
Envisioning a sustainable future in Northampton: promoting a green post-pandemic recovery
Date: 23-11-2020 – from 4pm to 6pm
Collaborate link: https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/d5c43a58fe444b28afcd856467af75cf
If you want to attend this event please click here to send an email to Elodie René before November 21st.

Description:
This webinar will gather UK-based researchers and practitioners involved in environmental and social
sustainability transitions.
Discussions will be structured around the following key questions:
1) What are the environmental origins of pandemics such as COVID-19?
2) Why our collective answer to this pandemic should integrate environmental parameters?
3) Can we afford (socially and ecologically) a business as usual recovery scenario?
4) To which extent a local ecological – degrowth transition can open new perspective to recover
from the Covid crisis?

Webinar Moderators: Elodie René

Confirmed speakers:
1. Overview of the impacts of current health crisis on the most deprived communities in Northampton
Robin Burgess
Chief executive at Northampton Hope Center and Chairperson at Northampton social
enterprise town.
2. Ecological transition in Northampton a grassroots perspective: a short history of Transition Town Northampton
David Garlick
Founder of Transition Town Northampton part of the global Transition network.
3. Why creating the conditions for a flourishing of the imagination is vital to the climate emergency?
Rob Hopkins,
Rob Hopkins is cofounder of Transition Town Totnes and Transition Network, and the author
of The Transition Handbook, The Transition Companion, The Power of Just Doing Stuff, 21
Stories of Transition and most recently, From What Is to What If: unleashing the power of
imagination to create the future we want. He presents the podcast series ‘From What If to
What Next‘ which invites listeners to send in their “what if” questions and then explores how
to make them a reality. In 2012, he was voted one of the Independent’s top 100
environmentalists and was on Nesta and the Observer’s list of Britain’s 50 New Radicals.
Hopkins has also appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Four Thought and A Good Read, in the French film
phenomenon Demain and its sequel Apres Demain, and has spoken at TEDGlobal and three
TEDx events.
An Ashoka Fellow, Hopkins also holds a doctorate degree from the University of Plymouth and
has received two honorary doctorates from the University of the West of England and the
University of Namur. He is a keen gardener, a founder of New Lion Brewery in Totnes, and a
director of Totnes Community Development Society, the group behind Atmos Totnes, an
ambitious, community-led development project.
4. Potential and limits of circular economy within the entertainment industry: an insider perspective
Tom Harper
Unusual Rigging, Managing Director
Tom was appointed as managing director at Unusual Rigging in April 2020. In his role as
sustainability coordinator, Tom established the company’s carbon reduction strategy in 2013
and is exploring the company’s potential, as an organization, to pioneer a ‘circular economic’
business model within the industry. Tom has an MBA in Innovation and the Circular Economy
and is co-project managing the implementation of a custom asset tracking software system
which will also improve the efficiency of the company’s workflow.
5. Can we afford a business as usual recovery scenario? Envisioning a Degrowth case against the business case.
Fabian Maier and Iana Nesterova,
Fabian is a PhD researcher at Nottingham University in the field of critical organisation
studies and studies cooperatives, grassroots and community-based organisations in relation
to degrowth. Fabian is interested in discourses around prefiguration, post-work, and
solidarity economies. He is a member of the ‘Degrowth Organisation and Economy Research
Group’ and active in a worker co-operative in the East Midlands.
Iana Nesterova, PhD is a researcher based in the UK. Her PhD focused on small business transition towards degrowth. Iana’s research interests include the philosophy underpinning sustainable change
and what sustainable change means and entails. She currently teaches health economics
from a heterodox economics perspective. She is a member of SUCH (Sustainable Change)
research network and the ‘Degrowth Organisation and Economy Research Group’.

 

News

No more business as usual: introducing the Degrowth Organisation and Economy Research Group

by Ben Robra, Iana Nesterova and Fabian Maier

As the ongoing crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to illustrate once again, an unforeseen economic shock appears to threaten the very foundations of social life and indeed the livelihoods of people across the globe. With social distancing and lock-down measures in place, people were forced to stay at home and economic activity has been slowed down, at least temporarily.

In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, re-igniting the flame of excessive economic growth appears yet again as the overarching response and universal panacea by politicians and economists to counteract the severe crisis induced by the coronavirus. Thus, unbridled business activity and consumption is yet again the number one political measure to boost GDP figures, thereby continuing the fairy tales of endless growth.

However, seeing the COVID-19 pandemic as one crisis amongst multiple social, ecological, political and economic crises that are not just looming but are already in progress, puts this path increasingly into question. Moreover, the links of growth-obsessed capitalist economies to dire outcomes, such as, climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and soaring social inequalities, are becoming more and more obvious. In light of this crisis-prone tendency of growth, a return to a state of perceived normality and business as usual appears highly questionable and alarming. 

It is past time to think about alternatives to this way of life and to ask ourselves, how can we organise social life differently, in a more resilient and sustainable manner? Challenging the hegemony and ingrained notions of growth needs to necessarily incorporate radical questions about organisations in relation to transforming socio-economic systems.

For this reason, our newly formed Degrowth Organisation and Economy Research Group (@DegrowthOERG) aims to target these fundamental questions by looking at organisational projects that are critical and counter-hegemonic towards mainstream and taken-for-granted business theories. Dedicated to a radical change of economic organisation, we are studying alternative forms of organisation and work from a degrowth perspective.

Why?

Degrowth has significant implications for organisations and particularly economic organisations. The dominant economic organisations (i.e. corporations and other businesses) and their modus operandi, aligned with capital accumulation and productivism, do not fit degrowth and its principles. In other words, economic organisations that aim to accumulate capital and hence increase economic growth are incompatible with degrowth.

However, economic organisations do play a key role in transforming our society towards a sustainable degrowth society. As such, economic organisations are essential for the organisation of social life and the satisfaction of basic needs throughout society, to reach a good life for all in harmony with nature.

Therefore, exploring and studying organisations in the context of degrowth is crucial. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to this area of enquiry thus far. The majority of publications available disregard core principles of degrowth such as anti-accumulation and matter-energy throughput reduction.

Various research has sought to reconcile business logics and degrowth. This can equally be understood as a reconciliation of capitalism and degrowth. Businesses, as the core reproducers of the capitalist hegemony and drivers of growth, are not compatible with degrowth. We comment on this shortfall of alignment in our recent blog post: Why degrowth should scare business.

So far, the translation of degrowth principles from the macro to the micro level have only marginally taken place in an organisational context. Thus, the aim of this new research group is to ratify and study alternative economic organisations extensively in the context of degrowth. We aim to halt what we believe is a co-optation of degrowth on the micro-economic level, by shifting the focus to concrete utopias of alternative organisations. 

Who?

We are (so far) three ‘young’ academics in various stages of our PhDs focusing on organisation and the political economy in the context of degrowth. While we are aware that there is increasing attention towards this topic (forthcoming special issue in Organization), we perceived a lack of official research groups that are tackling issues of organisation in the context of degrowth. Therefore, our research group wants to address these shortcomings by starting a conversation across multiple disciplines. We envision a collaborative group of researchers looking to fill the vast research gap within organisation from a degrowth perspective. Interested researchers, activists, and practitioners sharing our vision and/or experiment with ideas of degrowth are welcome to join us and start a collaboration. 

Find the Degrowth Organisation and Economy Research Group on twitter (@DegrowthOERG)

Ben Robra – is a PhD researcher at the University of Leeds in the Sustainability Research Institute. Ben studies organisations in connection to degrowth using both political economy and social systems theory. He has a keen interest in organisations utilising the digital commons and P2P collaboration.

Iana Nesterova – is an independent researcher based in the UK. She holds an MSc in International Business and Finance. Her PhD focused on small business transition towards degrowth. Iana’s research interests include social ecological economics on the micro level. Further, she is interested in the philosophical questions surrounding degrowth.

Fabian Maier – is a PhD researcher at Nottingham University with a background in organisation and critical management studies. Fabian studies cooperatives, grassroots and community-based organisations in relation to degrowth. He is interested in discourses around prefiguration, post-work, and solidarity economies. 

News, Republished pieces

Degrowth: New Roots for the Economy

Re-imagining the Future After the Corona Crisis

The Coronavirus pandemic has already taken countless lives and it is uncertain how it will develop in the future. While people on the front lines of healthcare and basic social provisioning are fighting against the spread of the virus, caring for the sick and keeping essential operations running, a large part of the economy has come to a standstill. This situation is numbing and painful for many, creating fear and anxiety about those we love and the communities we are part of, but it is also a moment to collectively bring new ideas forward.

Logo for #NewRoots

The crisis triggered by the Coronavirus has already exposed many weaknesses of our growth-obsessed capitalist economy – insecurity for many, healthcare systems crippled by years of austerity and the undervaluation of some of the most essential professions. This system, rooted in exploitation of people and nature, which is severely prone to crises, was nevertheless considered normal. Although the world economy produces more than ever before, it fails to take care of humans and the planet, instead the wealth is hoarded and the planet is ravaged. Millions of children die every year from preventable causes, 820 million people are undernourished, biodiversity and ecosystems are being degraded and greenhouse gases continue to soar, leading to violent anthropogenic climate change: sea level rise, devastating storms, droughts and fires that devour entire regions.

For decades, the dominant strategies against these ills were to leave economic distribution largely to market forces and to lessen ecological degradation through decoupling and green growth. This has not worked. We now have an opportunity to build on the experiences of the Corona crisis: from new forms of cooperation and solidarity that are flourishing, to the widespread appreciation of basic societal services like health and care work, food provisioning and waste removal. The pandemic has also led to government actions unprecedented in modern peacetime, demonstrating what is possible when there is a will to act: the unquestioned reshuffling of budgets, mobilization and redistribution of money, rapid expansion of social security systems and housing for the homeless.

At the same time, we need to be aware of the problematic authoritarian tendencies on the rise like mass surveillance and invasive technologies, border closures, restrictions on the right of assembly, and the exploitation of the crisis by disaster capitalism. We must firmly resist such dynamics, but not stop there. To start a transition towards a radically different kind of society, rather than desperately trying to get the destructive growth machine running again, we suggest to build on past lessons and the abundance of social and solidarity initiatives that have sprouted around the world these past months. Unlike after the 2008 financial crisis, we should save people and the planet rather than bail out the corporations, and emerge from this crisis with measures of sufficiency instead of austerity.

We, the signatories of this letter, therefore offer five principles for the recovery of our economy and the basis of creating a just society. To develop new roots for an economy that works for all, we need to:

1) Put life at the centre of our economic systems.

Instead of economic growth and wasteful production, we must put life and well-being at the centre of our efforts. While some sectors of the economy, like fossil fuel production, military and advertising, have to be phased out as fast as possible, we need to foster others, like healthcare, education, renewable energy and ecological agriculture.

2) Radically reevaluate how much and what work is necessary for a good life for all.

We need to put more emphasis on care work and adequately value the professions that have proven essential during the crisis. Workers from destructive industries need access to training for new types of work that is regenerative and cleaner, ensuring a just transition. Overall, we have to reduce working time and introduce schemes for work-sharing.

3) Organize society around the provision of essential goods and services.

While we need to reduce wasteful consumption and travel, basic human needs, such as the right to food, housing and education have to be secured for everyone through universal basic services or universal basic income schemes. Further, a minimum and maximum income have to be democratically defined and introduced.

4) Democratize society.

This means enabling all people to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. In particular, it means more participation for marginalized groups of society as well as including feminist principles into politics and the economic system. The power of global corporations and the financial sector has to be drastically reduced through democratic ownership and oversight. The sectors related to basic needs like energy, food, housing, health and education need to be decommodified and definancialised. Economic activity based on cooperation, for example worker cooperatives, has to be fostered.

5) Base political and economic systems on the principle of solidarity.

Redistribution and justice – transnational, intersectional and intergenerational – must be the basis for reconciliation between current and future generations, social groups within countries as well as between countries of the Global South and Global North. The Global North in particular must end current forms of exploitation and make reparations for past ones. Climate justice must be the principle guiding a rapid social-ecological transformation.

As long as we have an economic system that is dependent on growth, a recession will be devastating. What the world needs instead is Degrowth – a planned yet adaptive, sustainable, and equitable downscaling of the economy, leading to a future where we can live better with less. The current crisis has been brutal for many, hitting the most vulnerable hardest, but it also gives us the opportunity to reflect and rethink. It can make us realize what is truly important and has demonstrated countless potentials to build upon. Degrowth, as a movement and a concept, has been reflecting on these issues for more than a decade and offers a consistent framework for rethinking society based on other values, such as sustainability, solidarity, equity, conviviality, direct democracy and enjoyment of life.

Join us in these debates and share your ideas at Degrowth Vienna 2020 and the Global Degrowth Day – to construct an intentional and emancipatory exit from our growth addictions together!

In solidarity,

The open letter working group: Nathan Barlow, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Manuel Grebenjak, Vincent Liegey, François Schneider, Tone Smith, Sam Bliss, Constanza Hepp, Max Hollweg, Christian Kerschner, Andro Rilović, Pierre Smith Khanna, Joëlle Saey-Volckrick

This letter is the result of a collaborative process within the degrowth international network. It has been signed by more than 1,100 experts and over 70 organizations from more than 60 countries.
See all signatories here

You can find the translations of the open letter here:

Catalan
Croatian
Danish
Dutch
French
German
Greek
Hungarian
Italian
Korean
Mandarin
Portuguese
Russian
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish

You can find the press release here

events, News

Introducing #DegrowthTalks

2020 was supposed to be the inaugural year of the UK Degrowth Summer School, an initiative organised by past attendees of the well-respected annual degrowth summer school held at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Unfortunately, due to the covid-19 crisis, the UK summer school – along with the Manchester degrowth conference it was scheduled to precede – has been postponed.

However, the summer school organising team have acted swiftly to organise instead a fantastic schedule of online talks, by some brilliant degrowth scholars. The talks are free and open to all, and will be streamed live via the Degrowth Talks youtube channel. See the poster below for details of the full schedule of talks. The first talk will take place on Wednesday 29th April, at 6pm BST. See you there! #DegrowthTalks #NoBackToNormal

Degrowth Talks youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnmLreZXaPwgAdFhWmJbKBA

DegrowthTalks twitter: @DegrowthTalks

UK Degrowth Summer School website: https://www.ukdegrowthsummerschool.org/