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Sustainable de-growth: Mapping the context, criticisms and future prospects of an emergent paradigm

  • Martínez-Alier, Joan
  • Pascual, Unai
  • Vivien, Franck-Dominique
  • Zaccai, Edwin

"Sustainable de-growth" is both a concept and a social-grassroots (Northern) movement with its origins in the fields of ecological economics, social ecology, economic anthropology and environmental and social activist groups. This paper introduces the concept of sustainable de-growth by mapping some of the main intellectual influences from these fields, with special focus on the Francophone and Anglophone thinking about this emergent notion. We propose hypotheses pertaining to the appeal of sustainable de-growth, and compare it to the messages enclosed within the dominant sustainable development idea. We scrutinize the theses, contradictions, and consequences of sustainable de-growth thinking as it is currently being shaped by a heterogeneous body of literature and as it interacts with an ample and growing corpus of social movements. We also discuss possible future paths for the de-growth movement compared to the apparent weakening of the sustainable development paradigm.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 9 (July)
Pages: 1741-1747

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:9:p:1741-1747
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  1. Ayres, Robert U., 2008. "Sustainability economics: Where do we stand?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 281-310, September.
  2. Odum, Howard T. & Odum, Elisabeth C., 2006. "The prosperous way down," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 21-32.
  3. Daly, Herman E., 1992. "Allocation, distribution, and scale: towards an economics that is efficient, just, and sustainable," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 185-193, December.
  4. Daly, Herman E, 1974. "The Economics of the Steady State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 15-21, May.
  5. Bill Hopwood & Mary Mellor & Geoff O'Brien, 2005. "Sustainable development: mapping different approaches," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 38-52.
  6. Zuindeau, Bertrand, 2007. "Regulation School and environment: Theoretical proposals and avenues of research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 281-290, April.
  7. Ropke, Inge, 2004. "The early history of modern ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3-4), pages 293-314, October.
  8. Ayres, Robert U., 1996. "Limits to the growth paradigm," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 117-134, November.
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