The Case for Degrowth 1st Edition
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“COVID-19 is the symptom; the profit-driven destruction of natural and social habitants is the disease. There's only one cure consistent with global social justice. Read this eloquent and urgent book and find out what it is.”
Mike Davis, University of California and author of Ecology of Fear and Planet of Slums
“The Case for Degrowth is a brief and straightforward explainer, and a good starting point for anyone who wants to get their head around the degrowth movement and what it wants to acheive.”
Jeremy Williams, editor of Time to Act and co-author of The Economics of Arrival
“The Case for Degrowth does what its title promises; it assertively advocates for a society and economy that aim at the wellbeing of all while also sustaining the natural basis of life, refuting the myth of green growth, and providing a clear compass to evaluate the directionality of sustainability transitions.”
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
“This is a major contribution to the current debate on growth and degrowth. The authors lay bare the innards of each and show us the importance of degrowth. Wellbeing, equity, and sustainability are key vectors organizing this text. These should be understood in the fullness of their capacities to move us out of our current modernity --a decaying order that is today still dominant. But history has shown us across the centuries that no system of power can last for ever, and nor will our current system. Indeed, it is busy destroying itself.”
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University and author of Expulsions
“Degrowth is one of the most important ideas of the 21st century. Here it is in compact form. Clear, timely, urgent. Don't miss this book.”
Jason Hickel, London School of Economics and author of The Divide and Less is More
“The COVID pandemic is laying bare dysfunctions of the growth model and the urgency of a pathway to sanity, climate protection, and security for all. This wonderful and accessible introduction by leading degrowth scholars is a vital resource for anyone interested in viable alternatives, rooted in cooperative economic relations and respect for planetary limits.”
Juliet Schor, author of After the Gig: how the sharing economy got hijacked and how to win it back
“A superb account of why capitalist economies fail life on Earth, even as peoples initiatives in community sharing already revive joy and hope for our futures. This small book teaches economics like no other. It will reply to your doubts about change. It should be on every public library shelf and every syllabus; give copies to your friends.”
Ariel Salleh, activist and editor of Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice: Women write Political Ecology
“As the panoply of growth-induced disasters becomes ever more evident with the COVID-19 crisis, it becomes patently clear that the growth imperative must come to a stop. A new vision of the economy –and, hence, of economics—is absolutely essential to the welfare of Earth and all its beings. With The Case for Degrowth, Kallis, Paulson, D’Alisa and Demaria give us a decisive chapter towards such reframing. They show that degrowth is about much more than just the economy: it’s about a radically different way of being, doing and world-making. Degrowth enlightens us on the design of wiser societies that go at a slower pace precisely because they are attuned to Earth. By incorporating the paradigms of care, mutual aid, commoning, and justice, this stunning short book by the foremost thinkers of degrowth finally makes tangible a radical transition towards the peaceful and mutually-enhancing co-existence of humans and the Earth.”
Arturo Escobar, author of Encountering Development, and Designs for the Pluriverse and Professor of Anthropology at University of North Carolina
“The case for degrowth as argued in this book is so well rounded and compelling that it is difficult to imagine how progressive politicians could avoid integrating the many policies advocated here into their party manifestos . . . unless of course they cannot escape the growth mentality that has suffocated progressive policies for decades. But even in this case, the book offers ways of changing that mentality through commoning and collective action.”
Massimo De Angelis, University of East London, editor of The Commoner, and author of Omnia Sunt Communia
"Many before have made the point that there are limits to growth, but few have pondered so convincingly on how to break from our addiction to growth."
Stefania Barca, University of Coimbra, co-editor of Towards a Political Economy of Degrowth
“The degrowth movement now has its Manifesto. A rigorous, practical analysis that will guide grassroots and institutional politics so they can realize a transformation akin to degrowth and turn the current global crisis into a new opportunity and pathway towards more sustainable and carrying societies.”
Isabelle Anguelovski, Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BCNUEJ) and author of Neighborhood as Refuge
“By this book, degrowth finally becomes adult. No longer a simple game of hide-and-seek with the growth regime. No longer a vague illusion postponed until the advent of a catastrophe that never comes. No longer a generous experimentation among circles of virtuosos nor an extreme form of resilience by the excluded from the banquet of the consumer society, but a mature and innovative political project, facing the hegemony challenge in the open field of the social arena. The authors are the best fruits of the degrowth movement: activists at the forefront and at the same time leading scholars.”
Onofrio Romano, University of Bari and author of Towards a society of degrowth
“Decrecer es la consigna. Más y más crecimiento económico en un mundo finito es una locura. Más todavía si éste ahonda las diferencias sociales, las frustraciones y la infelicidad. No podemos mantener ese ritmo despiadado de acumulación del que afloran múltiples pandemias, como la del coronavirus. No hay duda, requerimos una desaceleración programada de la actividad económica para reencontrarnos armónicamente con los ritmos de la Madre Tierra, así como para construir otras sociedades basadas en la diversidad, la sostenibilidad, la pluralidad y la reciprocidad; bases fundamentales del Pluriverso: un mundo donde quepan todos los mundos posibles que aseguren una vida digna a humanos y no humanos.”
Alberto Acosta, former president of the Constituent Assembly of Ecuador and author of Buen Vivir
“Degrowth is one of the most exciting approaches to emerge from the belly of the industrialised and colonising world, fundamentally challenging its unsustainable and inequitable path of 'development'. But approaches and concepts also need praxis, else they remain in rarified ivory towers. Perhaps for the first time, here, degrowth proponents transform visions and recommendations into a coherent set of actions, from our individual choices to macro-economics and politics. Essential reading for anyone interested in transforming society to be crisis-resilient and crisis-avoiding!”
Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh/Global Tapestry of Alternatives and co-editor of Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary
"Is there life after economic growth? Kallis and his co-authors have taken up the baton from the early proponents of degrowth and created a vibrant, accessible discourse for the 21st Century. The Case for Degrowth provides the why, the where and the how of a better economy and a richer society. Its vision is needed now more than ever."
Tim Jackson, Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, author of Prosperity without Growth
“This is a bold book that goes beyond naysaying and critique, and in writing such a book, the authors are doing a great service to all us educators who are frequently asked by our students ‘now what? What can we do?’”
Manisha Anantharaman, Saint Mary’s College of California
“A concise and thorough overview of the case for degrowth and an alternative vision of sustainable and equitable wellbeing.”
Anders Hayden, Dalhousie University
“The Case for Degrowth is a brief and straightforward explainer, and a good starting point for anyone who wants to get their head around the degrowth movement and what it wants to achieve.”
Jeremy Williams, editor of Time to Act and co-author of The Economics of Arrival
“This pithy book offers a well-argued critique of growth systems while presenting policy packages for promoting degrowth that will help people produce only as much, consume less, share more, enjoy time, and live with dignity and joy.”
About the Author
Susan Paulson is Professor at the Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida.
Giacomo D’Alisa is a FCT post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra.
Federico Demaria is a lecturer in ecological economics and political ecology at the University of Barcelona.
- Publisher : Polity; 1st edition (November 2, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 140 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1509535632
- ISBN-13 : 978-1509535637
- Item Weight : 6.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.7 x 0.9 x 7.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #267,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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However growth is the unquestioned goal in politics, in economics, and in societies generally. I do not need to be persuaded of the need for a hard shift into reverse -- to degrowth. But will this book persuade others? I hope so, but I think it can be improved on.
"...[L]iving well with less by living differently, prioritizing wellbeing, equity, and sustainability" is the summary. At the personal and community level "commoning" is the alternative -- creating cooperative institutions in place of profit-driven individual consumption. The Spanish authors draw on many exemplars from Barcelona, including the Catalan Integral Cooperative.
A chapter is devoted to the "sacrifices of growth," and it addresses both the obvious ecological as well as the less obvious social costs of exponential, compound growth.
But the chapter called "Path-Breaking Reforms" seems to be key. Five major reforms are proposed:
1) a Green New Deal without growth,
2) universal incomes and services,
3) policies to reclaim the commons,
4) reduction of working hours, and
5) public finance that supports the first four.
It's clear that this degrowth agenda overlaps substantially with traditional social democracy, while radically diverging from it in breaking with the assumption of economic growth. But honestly it is practically impossible to imagine such a program being implemented, especially in the U.S.
I think the 20-page FAQ at the back is the section that is most likely to win over the skeptical. I humbly suggest to the authors that this is where they should concentrate their future efforts. I am sure that they run into these questions and more in their lecturing and public speaking.
I do what I can to support this approach in my lectures and in my role as a citizen of the U.S. But realistically I think the 2020/2021 pandemic has a lesson for us all -- slowing growth, let alone stopping or reversing it into degrowth will not happen voluntarily. Only the deepening of the ecological and social crisis being caused by capitalism-fueled human society will bring degrowth, and not by choice.
I hope I'm wrong.