RETHINK
ECONOMICS
... and receive personalised notifications on
new pluralistic content directly into your inbox!

Political ecology, degrowth, and the Green New Deal

Ricardo Mastini
Summer Academy 2022 for Pluralist Economics, 2022, 2022
Level: beginner
Perspective: Ecological Economics
Topic: (De-)growth
Format: Course description/syllabus

This workshop was originally taught at the Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics 2022
Instructor: Ricardo Mastini (University of Barcelona, Spain)

Course content

The first day of the workshop is intended to initiate students to the foundational concepts of ecological economics. Ecological economics is an ecological critique of economics, applying the energetics of life to the study of the economy. It also investigates the social distribution of environmental costs and benefits. It does so by deconstructing concepts that are taken for granted like “nature” or “the economy”, excavating their ideological origins.  

After laying these foundations, on the second day of the workshop we will venture into the theory of degrowth. Degrowth is, first, a critique of the ecological consequences of economic growth. The faster we produce and consume goods, the more we transform and damage the environment. Second, economic growth is no longer desirable. The costs of growth exceed its benefits. Growth has become by now “uneconomic”. 

Thirdly, growth has always been based on exploitation. Without a sur¬plus, there is no investment and no growth. To have a surplus, capitalists or governments must exploit someone, somewhere.  

The question on everybody’s mind at this point will probably be: what would a degrowth economy look like? On the third day of the workshop, we will look at some of the flagship policy proposals articulated by degrowth scholars. These policy proposals are an attempt at reforming the institutions of property, work, and money to ensure social inclusion, economic equality, and ecological sustainability.  

On the final day of the workshop, we will engage with the emerging political discourse of the Green New Deal. This discourse postulates the need for an active role of the State in the economy to drive the ecological transition. To do so, Green New Deal advocates aim at deploying the power of public investment and coordination is a historic break from neoliberalism. However, for this discourse to be up to the task of staving off the mounting global ecological breakdown, the theoretical and policy insights provided by degrowth must be incorporated for a socio-ecological transformation.

Syllabus

 

Download syllabus here

Donate

This project is brought to you by the Network for Pluralist Economics (Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V.).  It is committed to diversity and independence and is dependent on donations from people like you. Regular or one-off donations would be greatly appreciated.

 

Donate