Political ecology, degrowth, and the Green New Deal
Summer Academy 2022 for Pluralist Economics,, 2022
This workshop was originally taught at the Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics 2022
Instructor: Ricardo Mastini (University of Barcelona, Spain)
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.
- Is this Degrowth? Online Quiz: https://www.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?tt=RzLRDsTr2Xg%3D
- Podcast introduction to degrowth and the Green New Deal: https://youtu.be/_nw5MdrvID4
- Federico Demaria debates with Paul De Grauwe about degrowth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAvClfH3Q8w
- Kallis, G. (2019). Socialism without growth. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 30(2), 189-206: https://bit.ly/39p1KvV
- Hickel, J. (2019). Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance. real-world economics review, 87(87), 54-68: https://bit.ly/39pTNXF
- Kallis, G., Kostakis, V., Lange, S., Muraca, B., Paulson, S., & Schmelzer, M. (2018). Research on degrowth. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 43, 291-316: shorturl.at/tILT1
- Kallis, G. (2017). Radical dematerialization and degrowth. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 375(2095): https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsta.2016.0383
- Demaria, F., Schneider, F., Sekulova, F., & Martinez-Alier, J. (2013). What is degrowth? From an activist slogan to a social movement. Environmental Values, 22(2), 191-215: https://bit.ly/39p5QnN
- A post-growth Green New Deal: http://unevenearth.org/2020/02/a-post-growth-green-new-deal/
- Europe's Green Deal is a tepid response to the climate crisis: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/environment/2019/12/europes-green-deal-tepid-response-climate-crisis
- Funding the Green New Deal: the evocation of Keynes: https://themoneyquestion.org/funding-the-green-new-deal-the-evocation-of-keynes/
- A Green New Deal Must Not Be Tied to Economic Growth: https://truthout.org/articles/a-green-new-deal-must-not-be-tied-to-economic-growth/
- Degrowth as a concrete utopia: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/transformation/degrowth-as-concrete-utopia/
- Degrowth: closing the global wealth divide: https://roarmag.org/essays/degrowth-closing-global-wealth-divide/
- A Sufficiency Vision for an Ecologically Constrained World: https://www.greeneuropeanjournal.eu/a-sufficiency-vision-for-an-ecologically-constrained-world/
- Work in a World Without Growth: https://www.greeneuropeanjournal.eu/work-in-a-world-without-growth/
- Degrowth: the case for a new economic paradigm: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/degrowth-case-for-constructing-new-economic-paradigm/
- Galvin, R., & Healy, N. (2020). The Green New Deal in the United States: What it is and how to pay for it. Energy Research & Social Science, 67, 101529: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629620301067
- Somerville, P., & Burton, M. (2019). Degrowth: A defence. New Left Review, 115: https://bit.ly/3hyxC4k
- McCarthy, J. (2015). A socioecological fix to capitalist crisis and climate change? The possibilities and limits of renewable energy. Environment and Planning A, 47(12), 2485-2502: https://bit.ly/2ZTziiS
- Plan, Mood, Battlefield - Reflections on the Green New Deal: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2019/05/16/plan-mood-battlefield-reflections-on-the-green-new-deal/
- Green New Deal for Europe Blueprint: https://report.gndforeurope.com/
- Sufficiency: Moving beyond the gospel of eco-efficiency (especially last chapter): https://www.foeeurope.org/sufficiency
- The Green New Deal’s Five Freedoms: https://jacobinmag.com/2019/02/green-new-deal-four-freedoms-fdr
- A Green New Deal to Win Back Our Future: https://jacobinmag.com/2019/02/green-new-deal-climate-change-policy
- With a Green New Deal, Here’s What the World Could Look Like for the Next Generation: https://theintercept.com/2018/12/05/green-new-deal-proposal-impacts/
- The Green New Deal explained: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/12/21/18144138/green-new-deal-alexandria-ocasio-cortez