Since the 1970s, the degrowth idea has been proposed by scholars, public intellectuals and activists as a powerful call to reject the obsession of neoliberal capitalism with economic growth, an obsession which continues apace despite the global ecological crisis and rising inequalities. In the past decade, degrowth has gained momentum and become an umbrella term for various social movements which strive for ecologically sustainable and socially just alternatives that would transform the world we live in.
How to move forward in an informed way, without reproducing the existing hierarchies and injustices? How not to end up in a situation when ecological sustainability is the prerogative of the privileged, direct democracy is ignorant of environmental issues, and localisation of production is xenophobic? These are some of the questions that have inspired this edited collection.
Bringing degrowth into dialogue with critical social theories, covering previously unexplored geographical contexts and discussing some of the most contested concepts in degrowth, the book hints at informed paths towards socio-ecological transformation.
Introduction. The End of Political Economy as We Knew it? From Growth Realism to Nomadic Utopianism
Stefania Barca, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya and Alexander Paulsson
Part 1: Critical Political Economies
Chapter 1. The Limits of Systems: Economics, Management and the Problematization of Growth During the Golden Age of Capitalism
Chapter 2. Reorienting Comparative Political Economy: From Economic Growth to Sustainable Alternatives
Chapter 3. The Topicality of André Gorz’s Political Ecology: Rethinking 1977 Écologie Et Libertè to (Re)Connect Marxism and Degrowth
Chapter 4. Growth and Degrowth in Marx’s Critique of Political Economy
Chapter 5. The Historical Roots of a Feminist ‘Degrowth’: Maria Mies and Marilyn Waring’s Critiques of Growth
Catia Gregoratti and Riya Raphael
Part Two: Emerging Terrains
Chapter 6. Degrowth in Theory, Pursuit of Growth in Action: Exploring the Russian and Soviet Contexts
Chapter 7. Countering the Order of Progress: Colonialism, Extractivism and Re-Existence in the Brazilian Amazon
Chapter 8. Degrowth, Devaluation and Uneven Development from North to South
Chapter 9. Degrowth in Practice? Unraveling the Post-Political Effects of Slow City (Cittaslow) Movement in the Anatolian Town of Halfeti Xalfetî
Mine Islar and Gökhan Gülbandilar
Part Three: Contested Concepts
Chapter 10. “An Alternative Worth Fighting For”: Degrowth and the Liberation of Work
Chapter 11. The Imperative of Redesigning Money to Achieve Degrowth
Chapter 12. Problematising Self-Sufficiency: A Historical Exploration of the “Autarky” Concept
Chapter 13. Having, Doing, Loving, Being: Sustainable Well-Being for a Post-Growth Society
Tuula Helne and Tuuli Hirvilammi
Chapter 14. The State of Degrowth
Ekaterina Chertkovskaya is a Researcher in Degrowth and Critical Organisation Studies based at Lund University and a member of the editorial collective of ephemera journal.
Alexander Paulsson is a Senior Lecturer at Lund University School of Economics and Management.
Stefania Barca is an environmental historian and Senior Researcher, Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra.
This book is a gem. It is a must read for any political economist who wants to understand what degrowth is all about.
Confirming the strengths of the degrowth movement (in face of the illusory aspirations of growth economics), while remaining sensitive to its current limitations, this collection provides a valuable addition to the literature of the most important politico-economic development of our times. The reader will here find fresh optics on the formation and differing geographical settings of a degrowth political economy, and on the conceptual shifts around work, money, welfare and state intervention it will demand and provide for.
This vanguard volume provides motives and tools to re-purpose political economy toward sustainable well-being. Nourishing roots of political economic thought and practice (before it became dominated by growth), creative branches seeking other paths (Karl Marx, André Gorz, Marilyn Waring), and comparative cases (Brazil, Russia, Turkey), work together to open horizons for action from differing perspectives and positions in our uneven world.