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Degrowth or regrowth?


  • Mark Whitehead


Despite the obvious connections between degrowth and a range of sister concepts (such as limits to growth and sustainable development), it is important to remember what is unique about the concept. The distinguishing feature of the concept of degrowth is that it brings attention to the nature and effects of growth. In classical economics, growth is associated with the healthy functioning of a free market economy. On these terms economic growth produces the profit motivation, is a requisite of effective market competition, and enables the most efficient distribution of economic goods and investment. Degrowth isolates the growth dynamic that infuses the modern world in order to consider the socio-ecological externalities that it produces. Beyond these intellectual endeavours, however, the degrowth movement is also responsible for thinking about how it might be possible to image a downsized world, which is not dependent on growth. In this context, the degrowth movement has forged strong connections with bio-regionalism, permaculture, Transition initiatives, and the Slow Food and Voluntary Simplicity movements. This special issue of Environmental Values introduces some of the latest thinking and key areas of debate that now define the field.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Whitehead, 2013. "Degrowth or regrowth?," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 141-145, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev22:editev222

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peck, Jamie, 2012. "Constructions of Neoliberal Reason," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199662081.
    2. Kallis, Giorgos, 2011. "In defence of degrowth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 873-880, March.
    3. Andrew Dobson, 2013. "Political Theory in a Closed World: Reflections on William Ophuls, Liberalism and Abundance," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 241-259, April.
    4. Federico Demaria & Francois Schneider & Filka Sekulova & Joan Martinez-Alier, 2013. "What is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 191-215, April.
    5. Barbara Muraca, 2013. "Decroissance: A Project for a Radical Transformation of Society," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 147-169, April.
    6. Volker Mauerhofer, 2013. "Lose Less Instead of Win More: The Failure of Decoupling and Perspectives for Competition in a Degrowth Economy," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(1), pages 43-57, February.
    7. B. Fingleton & M. Abreu & P. Cheshire & H. Garretsen & D. Igliori & J. Le Gallo & P. McCann & John McCombie & V. Monastiriotis & M. Roberts & J. Yu, 2012. "Editorial," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 397-402, December.
    8. Viviana Asara & Emanuele Profumi & Giorgos Kallis, 2013. "Degrowth, Democracy and Autonomy," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(2), pages 217-239, April.
    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. J.-P. Boissin & A. Fayolle & Karim Messeghem, 2012. " Editorial ," Post-Print halshs-00783612, HAL.
    11. 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.
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    More about this item


    Economic growth; degrowth; voluntary simplicity;

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development


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