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In defence of degrowth

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  • Kallis, Giorgos

Abstract

This article defends the proposal of sustainable degrowth. A starting premise is that resource and CO2 limits render further growth of the economy unsustainable. If degrowth is inevitable, the question is how it can become socially sustainable, i.e. a prosperous and stable, rather than a catastrophic, descent. Pricing mechanisms alone are unlikely to secure smooth adaptation; a full ensemble of environmental and redistributive policies is required, including - among others - policies for a basic income, reduction of working hours, environmental and consumption taxes and controls on advertising. Policies like these, that threaten to "harm" the economy, are less and less likely to be implemented within existing market economies, whose basic institutions (financial, property, political, and redistributive) depend on and mandate continuous economic growth. An intertwined cultural and political change is needed that will embrace degrowth as a positive social development and reform those institutions that make growth an imperative. Sustainable degrowth is therefore not just a structuring concept; it is a radical political project that offers a new story and a rallying slogan for a social coalition built around the aspiration to construct a society that lives better with less.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 70 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (March)
Pages: 873-880

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:5:p:873-880

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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Keywords: Sustainable degrowth Economic crisis Environmental taxes Working hours Politics Sustainability;

References

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  1. Gill Seyfang, 2001. "Community currencies: small change for a green economy," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(6), pages 975-996, June.
  2. Martínez-Alier, Joan & Pascual, Unai & Vivien, Franck-Dominique & Zaccai, Edwin, 2010. "Sustainable de-growth: Mapping the context, criticisms and future prospects of an emergent paradigm," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1741-1747, July.
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Citations

RePEc Biblio mentions

As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
  1. > Schools of Economic Thought, Epistemology of Economics > Heterodox Approaches > Ecological Economics > Degrowth
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Cited by:
  1. Ennio Bilancini & Simone D'Alessandro, 2011. "Long-run Welfare under Externalities in Consumption, Leisure, and Production: A Case for Happy Degrowth vs. Unhappy Growth," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 072, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  2. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Towards the integration of social, economic and ecological knowledge," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2012_04, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  3. Anderson, Blake & M'Gonigle, Michael, 2012. "Does ecological economics have a future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 37-48.
  4. Järvensivu, Paavo, 2013. "Transforming market–nature relations through an investigative practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 197-205.
  5. Schäpke, Niko & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2012. "Addressing sufficiency: Including altruistic motives in behavioural models for sustainability transitions," UFZ Discussion Papers 17/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
  6. Armon Rezai & Lance Taylor & Reinhard Mechler, 2012. "Ecological Macroeconomics: An application to climate change," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2012_06, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  7. Miklós Antal & Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2014. "Macroeconomics, Financial Crisis and the Environment. Strategies for a Sustainability Transition," WIFO Working Papers 464, WIFO.
  8. Petra Wächter, 2013. "The Impacts of Spatial Planning on Degrowth," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1067-1079, March.
  9. Samuel Alexander, 2013. "Voluntary Simplicity and the Social Reconstruction of Law: Degrowth from the Grassroots Up," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 287-308, April.
  10. Anna Dimitrova & Katarina Hollan & Daphne Laster & Andreas Reinstaller & Margit Schratzenstaller & Ewald Walterskirchen & Teresa Weiss, 2013. "Literature review on fundamental concepts and definitions, objectives and policy goals as well as instruments relevant for socio-ecological transition," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 40, WWWforEurope.
  11. Eric de Noronha Vaz & Teresa de Noronha & Peter Nijkamp, 2013. "An Exploratory Landscape Metrics Approach to Agricultural Changes: Applications of Spatial Economic Consequences for the Algarve, Portugal," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-140/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Anca Elena Gheorghica, 2012. "The Emergence Of La Decroissance," CES Working Papers, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 4, pages 60-75, March.
  13. Viviana Asara & Emanuele Profumi & Giorgos Kallis, 2013. "Degrowth, Democracy and Autonomy," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 217-239, April.
  14. Stephen Quilley, 2013. "De-Growth Is Not a Liberal Agenda: Relocalisation and the Limits to Low Energy Cosmopolitanism," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 261-285, April.
  15. Urhammer, Emil & Røpke, Inge, 2013. "Macroeconomic narratives in a world of crises: An analysis of stories about solving the system crisis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 62-70.
  16. Geoffrey Garver, 2013. "The Rule of Ecological Law: The Legal Complement to Degrowth Economics," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(1), pages 316-337, January.
  17. Clive L. Spash, 2013. "The Ecological Economics of Boulding's Spaceship Earth," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2013_02, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  18. Mark Whitehead, 2013. "Degrowth or regrowth?," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 141-145, April.

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