ECONOMIC DEGROWTH - NEGATIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH TO SAVE HUMANITY & BIOSPHERE


“Economic degrowth – negative economic growth to save Humanity & Biosphere”, Carbon Debt Carbon Credit: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/economic-degrowth .

This website is an alphabetically-organized compendium of the expert opinions of humanitarians who have concluded that economic degrowth (negative economic growth) is required to stop the worsening and catastrophic  global warming and biodiversity loss that threaten Humanity [1-14].

Clearly such economic degrowth must also be associated with population degrowth (as in Japan and much of Europe today) and negative CO2 emissions to draw-down atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to a safe and sustainable level of about 300 parts per million CO2 (300 ppm CO2)[15, 16]. 

Limited positive economic growth is required in the Developing countries (the South) to  bring them up to a decent level of existence that, coupled with female education and decreased infant mortality, will enable  population degrowth. This means that the heavy lifting for economic degrowth must be borne by Developed countries (the North). Presently 15 million Third World people die avoidably from deprivation each year on Spaceship Earth with the First World in charge of the flight deck [17].


References. 

[1].  Jorgen Randers, “Systematic short-termism:  Climate, capitalism and democracy”, Climate Code red, 2012: http://www.climatecodered.org/2012/11/systematic-short-termism-climate.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClimateCodeRed+%28climate+code+red%29 .

[2]. “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths .

[3]. Red Cross, “World Disasters Report 2018”: https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2018/10/B-WDR-2018-EXECSUM-EN.pdf .

[4].   World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “Living Planet Report 2018 aiming higher - summary”: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wwfassets/downloads/lpr2018_summary_report_spreads.pdf .

[5]. Phillip Levin and Donald Levin, “The real biodiversity crisis”, American Scientist, January-February 2002: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-real-biodiversity-crisis .

[6]. William J. Ripple et al., 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, “World scientists’ warning to Humanity: a second notice”, Bioscience, 13 November 2017: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/bix125/4605229 .

[7]. Gideon Polya, “Over 15,000 scientists issue dire warning to Humanity on catastrophic climate change loss and biodiversity loss”, Countercurrents, 20 November 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/11/20/over-15000-scientists-issue-dire-warning-to-humanity-on-catastrophic-climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss/ .

[8]. IPCC, “Global warming of 1.5 °C”, 8 October 2018: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ .

[9]. IPCC, “Global warming of 1.5 °C. Summary for Policymakers”, 8 October 2018: http://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf .

[10]. “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .

[11]. “Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming .

[12]. “Nuclear weapons  ban, end poverty & reverse climate change”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/nuclear-weapons-ban .

[13]. “Methane Bomb Threat”: https://sites.google.com/site/methanebombthreat/ .

[14]. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

[15].  300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org

[16]. "300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm CO2”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm ).

[17].  Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, including an avoidable mortality-related history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web : http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com.au/   ).


2010 DEGROWTH DECLARATION BARCELONA. Degrowth Declaration Barcelona 2010 (in part) (2010): “An international elite and a “global middle class” are causing havoc to the environment through conspicuous consumption and the excessive appropriation of human and natural resources. Their consumption patterns lead to further environmental and social damage when imitated by the rest of society in a vicious circle of status-seeking through the accumulation of material possessions…A process of degrowth of the world economy is inevitable and will ultimately benefit the environment, but the challenge is how to manage the process so that it is socially equitable at national and global scales. This is the challenge of the Degrowth movement, originating in rich countries in Europe and elsewhere, where the change must start from. Academics, activists and practitioners met in Barcelona to structure proposals toward an alternative, ecologically sustainable and socially equitable degrowth society… We assert that these proposals are not utopian: new redistributive taxes will address income inequality and finance social investments and discourage consumption and environmental damage, while reduced working hours with a reinforced social security system will manage unemployment.As the economy of wealthy parts of the world quietly contracts and our damage to the environment through new infrastructures and extraction activities is constrained, well-being will increase through public investments in low-cost social and relational goods. Every new proposal generates several new objections and questions. We do not claim to have a recipe for the future, but we can no longer pretend that we can keep growing as if nothing has happened. The folly of growth has come to an end. The challenge now is how to transform, and the debate has just begun” (Second international Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, 26-29 March 2010, Barcelona, “Degrowth Declaration Barcelona 2010”: https://www.degrowth.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Degrowth_Declaration_Barcelona_2010.pdf ).


ALEXANDER. Dr Samuel Alexander (Research fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne) on de-growth (2017): “We can’t cut emissions by 8-10% per year – as the carbon budget says we must – purely through energy efficiency and renewable power, especially if we expect to keep growing the economy while we do it. Significant emissions reductions will require us to use considerably less energy. And because energy use and economic activity are intimately related, less energy means less production and less consumption. It therefore follows that developed nations should immediately begin a strategy of planned economic contraction, with less energy and resource use. This “radical” conclusion follows logically from the moderate assumptions stated above, and it contradicts the widespread assurances that maintaining a safe climate is compatible with continued economic growth. It is even harder to reconcile climate action with economic growth when you consider that the assumptions above are too moderate anyway. If we were to decide on limiting warming to 1.5C instead of 2C, with a higher chance of avoiding that threshold (say 80% or 90% instead of 50%), then that would render our carbon budget even smaller - or already used up. Climate stability demands nothing less than a wholesale economic shift – moving beyond growth and into a culture of consumption based on sufficiency”  (Samuel Alexander, “We need economic de-growth to stop a carbon budget blow-out”, The Conversation, 19 September 2014: https://theconversation.com/we-need-economic-degrowth-to-stop-a-carbon-budget-blowout-31228 ).

 

ANDERSON. Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice-Bows-Larkin (climate scientists) (2013)  “For a reasonable probability of avoiding the 2°C characterisation of dangerous climate change, the wealthier (Annex 1) nations need, temporarily, to adopt a de-growth strategy” (Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice-Bows-Larkin quoted in Kevin Anderson, “Avoiding dangerous climate change demands de-growth strategies from wealthier nations”, Kevin Anderson.info, 25 November 2013: https://kevinanderson.info/blog/avoiding-dangerous-climate-change-demands-de-growth-strategies-from-wealthier-nations/ ).

 Professor Kevin Anderson (2013):To summarise, if: (1)   reductions in emissions greater than 3-4% p.a. are incompatible with a growing economy, (2)  the 2°C obligation relates to a twenty-first century carbon budget, (3)  a 50% chance of exceeding 2°C is adjudged an acceptable risk of failure, (4)  and Non-Annex 1 nations peak emissions by 2025 & subsequently reduce at ~7% p.a., (5)  then the wealthier nations’ carbon budget is the global 2°C budget minus the poorer nations’ budget, (6)  and consequently wealthier nations must reduce emissions at 8 to 10% p.a.,(7) Q.E.D. Annex 1 mitigation rates for 2°C are incompatible with economic growth (Kevin Anderson, “Avoiding dangerous climate change demands de-growth strategies from wealthier nations”, Kevin Anderson.info, 25 November 2013: https://kevinanderson.info/blog/avoiding-dangerous-climate-change-demands-de-growth-strategies-from-wealthier-nations/ ).


Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice Bows on an annual   6-8% annual GHG emissions reduction needed in our carbon-based  economy for a 450 ppm CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) target (2008): “According to the analysis conducted in this paper, stabilizing at 450 ppmv [carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2-e, atmospheric concentration measured in parts per million by volume] requires, at least, global energy related emissions to peak by 2015, rapidly decline at 6-8% per year between 2020 and 2040, and for full decarbonization sometime soon after 2050 …Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonization (in excess of 6% per year), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppmv CO2-e ... Ultimately, the latest scientific understanding of climate change allied with current emissions trends and a commitment to “limiting average global temperature increases to below 4oC above pre-industrial levels”, demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda, and the economic characterization of contemporary society” (Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows, “Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends”, Proc. Trans. Roy. Soc, A, 2008: http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/journal_papers/fulltext.pdf ).


AZAM. Geneviève Azam ( lecturer in economics and researcher at Toulouse University, France, and an environmental activist for Attac France) on degrowth (2017): “Global growth not only draws on labor and capital; it also requires energy and natural resources. These resources are limited and cannot be replaced by technical capital, contrary to the affirmations of neoclassical economic models. Therefore, the capitalist process of production-consumption feeds on the expropriation and destruction of livelihoods and forms of life that escape market valuation. Since the 1980s, economic and financial globalization has accelerated the commodification of natural resources and living organisms, as well as the extraction of natural resources. However, the capitalist economy can only grow by escalating irreversible socio-environmental destruction and concentrating the wealth produced in the hands of a minority. This is why degrowth is not the same as negative growth, or zero growth, or a stationary state: degrowth is not a shift towards downward economic fluctuations, nor a recession. It is a political choice that leads to a voluntary and planned reduction in the use of energy and resources, to redefining our needs and choosing “frugal abundance”” (Geneviève Azam, “From growth to degrowth: a brief history”, Countercurrents, 10 July 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/07/10/from-growth-to-degrowth-a-brief-history/ ).


BALMFORD. Andrew Balmford and colleagues on wild nature having a substantial economic value  (estimated at about $35 trillion annually (2002) or about half of the world's annual GDP) and net economic loss from habitat destruction  (2002): “Loss and degradation of remaining natural habitats has continued largely unabated. However, evidence has been accumulating that such systems generate marked economic benefits, which the available data suggest exceed those obtained from continued habitat conversion. We estimate that the overall benefit:cost ratio of an effective global program for the conservation of remaining wild nature is at least 100:1” [54]. [54]. Andrew Balmford, A. Bruner, P. Cooper, R. Costanza, S. Farber, R. E. Green, M. Jenkins, P. Jefferiss, V. Jessamy, J. Madden, K. Munro, N. Myers, S. Naeem, J. Paavola, M. Rayment, S. Trumper and R. K. Turner, “Economic reasons for conserving wild nature”, Science 297, 2002, 950-953: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/297/5583/950 ).


BOWS-LARKIN. Dr Alice-Bows-Larkin and Professor Kevin Anderson and (climate scientists) (2013): “For a reasonable probability of avoiding the 2°C characterisation of dangerous climate change, the wealthier (Annex 1) nations need, temporarily, to adopt a de-growth strategy” (Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice-Bows-Larkin quoted in Kevin Anderson, “Avoiding dangerous climate change demands de-growth strategies from wealthier nations”, Kevin Anderson.info, 25 November 2013: https://kevinanderson.info/blog/avoiding-dangerous-climate-change-demands-de-growth-strategies-from-wealthier-nations/ ).


Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice Bows on an annual   6-8% annual GHG emissions reduction needed in our carbon-based  economy for a 450 ppm CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) target (2008): “According to the analysis conducted in this paper, stabilizing at 450 ppmv [carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2-e, atmospheric concentration measured in parts per million by volume] requires, at least, global energy related emissions to peak by 2015, rapidly decline at 6-8% per year between 2020 and 2040, and for full decarbonization sometime soon after 2050 …Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonization (in excess of 6% per year), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppmv CO2-e ... Ultimately, the latest scientific understanding of climate change allied with current emissions trends and a commitment to “limiting average global temperature increases to below 4oC above pre-industrial levels”, demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda, and the economic characterization of contemporary society” (Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows, “Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends”, Proc. Trans. Roy. Soc, A, 2008: http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/journal_papers/fulltext.pdf ).


DALY. Herman Daly (US ecological economist and emeritus professor at the School of Public Policy of University of Maryland) on degrowth in the North (2011): “It is absolutely a waste of time as well as morally backward to preach steady-state doctrines to underdeveloped countries before the overdeveloped countries have taken any measure to reduce either their own population growth or the growth of their per-capita resource consumption. Therefore, the steady-state paradigm must first be applied in the overdeveloped countries….One of the major forces necessary to push the overdeveloped countries toward a…steady-state paradigm must be Third World outrage at their overconsumption….The starting point in development economics should be the “impossibility theorem”…that a U.S.-style high mass consumption economy for a world of 4 billion people is impossible, and even if by some miracle it could be achieved, it would certainly be short-lived” (World Wildlife Fund, Living Planet Report, 2006, http://panda.org ; quoted in John Bellamy Foster, “Capitalism and degrowth: an impossibility theorem”, Monthly Review, 1 January 2011: https://monthlyreview.org/2011/01/01/capitalism-and-degrowth-an-impossibility-theorem/ ).


DEGROWTH. The Degrowth website provides the following understanding of “degrowth”(2018):  “By “degrowth“, we understand a form of society and economy which aims at the well-being of all and sustains the natural basis of life. To achieve degrowth, we need a fundamental transformation of our lives and an extensive cultural change. The current economic and social paradigm is “faster, higher, further“. It is built on and stimulates competition between all humans. This causes acceleration, stress and exclusion. Our economy destroys the natural basis of life. We are convinced that the common values of a degrowth society should be care, solidarity and cooperation. Humanity has to understand itself as part of the planetary ecological system. Only this way, a self-determined life in dignity for all can be made possible. Essential for degrowth is: Striving for the good life for all. This includes deceleration, time welfare and conviviality. A reduction of production and consumption in the global North and liberation from the one-sided Western paradigm of development. This could allow for a self-determined path of social organization in the global South. An extension of democratic decision-making to allow for real political participation. Social changes and an orientation towards sufficiency instead of purely technological changes and improvements in efficiency in order to solve ecological problems. We believe that is has historically been proven that decoupling economic growth from resource use is not possible. The creation of open, connected and localized economies”  (“What is degrowth?”, Degrowth, 2018: https://www.degrowth.info/en/what-is-degrowth/ ).

 

DEGROWTH DECLARATION BARCELONA 2010. Degrowth Declaration Barcelona 2010 (in part) (2010): “An international elite and a “global middle class” are causing havoc to the environment through conspicuous consumption and the excessive appropriation of human and natural resources. Their consumption patterns lead to further environmental and social damage when imitated by the rest of society in a vicious circle of status-seeking through the accumulation of material possessions…A process of degrowth of the world economy is inevitable and will ultimately benefit the environment, but the challenge is how to manage the process so that it is socially equitable at national and global scales. This is the challenge of the Degrowth movement, originating in rich countries in Europe and elsewhere, where the change must start from. Academics, activists and practitioners met in Barcelona to structure proposals toward an alternative, ecologically sustainable and socially equitable degrowth society… We assert that these proposals are not utopian: new redistributive taxes will address income inequality and finance social investments and discourage consumption and environmental damage, while reduced working hours with a reinforced social security system will manage unemployment.As the economy of wealthy parts of the world quietly contracts and our damage to the environment through new infrastructures and extraction activities is constrained, well-being will increase through public investments in low-cost social and relational goods. Every new proposal generates several new objections and questions. We do not claim to have a recipe for the future, but we can no longer pretend that we can keep growing as if nothing has happened. The folly of growth has come to an end. The challenge now is how to transform, and the debate has just begun” (Second international Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, 26-29 March 2010, Barcelona, “Degrowth Declaration Barcelona 2010”: https://www.degrowth.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Degrowth_Declaration_Barcelona_2010.pdf ).

 

FOSTER. John Bellamy Foster (professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, and editor of Monthly Review who researches eco-socialism) (2011): “Almost four decades after the Club of Rome raised the issue of “the limits to growth,” the economic growth idol of modern society is once again facing a formidable challenge.3 What is known as “degrowth economics,” associated with the work of Serge Latouche in particular, emerged as a major European intellectual movement in 2008 with the historic conference in Paris on “Economic De-Growth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity,” and has since inspired a revival of radical Green thought, as epitomized by the 2010 “Degrowth Declaration” in Barcelona. … In a sustainable order, people in the wealthier economies (especially those in the upper income strata) would have to learn to live on “less” in commodity terms in order to lower per capita demands on the environment. At the same time, the satisfaction of genuine human needs and the requirements of ecological sustainability could become the constitutive principles of a new, more communal order aimed at human reciprocity, allowing for qualitative improvement, even plenitude. Such a strategy—not dominated by blind productivism—is consistent with providing people with worthwhile work. The ecological struggle, understood in these terms, must aim not merely for degrowth in the abstract but more concretely for deaccumulation—a transition away from a system geared to the accumulation of capital without end. In its place we need to construct a new co-revolutionary society, dedicated to the common needs of humanity and the earth” (John Bellamy Foster, “Capitalism and degrowth: an impossibility theorem”, Monthly Review, 1 January 2011: https://monthlyreview.org/2011/01/01/capitalism-and-degrowth-an-impossibility-theorem/ ).


GEORGESCU-ROEGEN. Nicholas  Georgescu-Roegen (leading ecological economist and author of “The Entropy Law and Economic Process”) on the need to reverse economic growth (1975): “Undoubtedly, the current growth must cease, nay, be reversed. But anyone who believes that he can draw a blueprint for the ecological salvation of the human species does not understand the nature of evolution, or even history – which is that of a permanent struggle in continuously novel forms” (Nicholas  Georgescu-Roegen, Energy and economic myths”, Southern economic journal, 41 (3), 34781, 1975; quoted in Antoine Missemer, “Nicholas  Georgescu-Roegen and degrowth”, The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought”, Volume 24, 493-506, 2017: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/vEZepzMnIFKMKQN9TVjV/full ).

 

HAWES. William Hawes (a writer specializing in politics and environmental issues,  author of the ebook “Planetary Vision: Essays on Freedom and Empire” and of articles in CounterPunch, Global Research, Countercurrents, Gods & Radicals, Dissident Voice, and The Ecologist) (2017):There has to be a movement to lead a de-growth economy, followed up by a sustainable, steady-state system. It can be called socialist, progressive, anarchist, Green: but it has to work, and fast, or we are collectively going down the tubes. The system must be based around egalitarianism, direct democracy, along with drawing up a Green constitution based on Bolivia’s model. New amendments should be added to uphold and strictly enforce the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Court of Justice should be given real power to prosecute violations of human rights. Implementing these measures would re-invigorate and re-enchant society to live healthier, happier lives, and promote the type of revolutionary optimism needed.The writers I value the most are the ones who educate about ecological issues and how they relate to structural poverty and misery for most of the world: Vandana Shiva, Robert Hunziker, Colin Todhunter. The environment and most of the developing world is in a state of collapse, and endless articles about Trump’s domestic agenda are not helpful as well as being out of touch; i.e., they are first world problems. There are plenty of voices speaking truth to power. The problem is, power has never, and will never listen without being threatened, as Alinsky was apt to point out.  That is why a mass protest movement is the best way forward. Fires must be lit under progressives and Leftists of all stripes: not just for free health care and free college tuition, but in solidarity with the poor and oppressed worldwide, as well as for threatened and endangered species. We must support a living wage for Zimbabweans and Chinese as well as for Americans, and healthy habitats for species in India and Borneo as well as American suburbs.  Progress can’t simply be measured in GDP or low unemployment rates: quality of life and ecosystem health must be taken into consideration”  (William Hawes, “Revolution not reform: Moral courage,  redefining progress and the myth of social democracy”, Dissident Voice,  9 October 2017: https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/10/revolution-not-reform-moral-courage-redefining-progress-and-the-myth-of-social-democracy/ ).


HICKEL. Dr Jason Hickel (an anthropologist at the London School of Economics and author of “The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions”) on de-growth to save the planet (2015): “Even if all the world’s countries meet their targets (which is very unlikely, since the targets are non-binding) if we do nothing else we’ll still be hurtling toward more than 3C of global warming, and possibly as high as 4.4C. Way over the threshold. What might our planet look like if it warms by 4C? No one can say for certain, but projections show that this level of warming is likely to bring about heatwaves not seen on Earth for 5m years. Southern Europe could dry up into a desert. Sea levels could rise by 1.2 meters before the century is out, drowning cities like Amsterdam and New York. Furthermore, 40% of species will be at risk of extinction. Most of our rainforests will wither away. Crop yields could collapse by 35%, destabilising the world’s food system and triggering widespread famine. In short, a 4C world looks very bleak indeed… Anderson argues that to have a 50% chance of keeping below 2C, industrialised countries will have to cut emissions by 8-10% per year (beginning in 2015) until net zero in 2050. That might sound easy on paper, but it’s remarkably difficult. Even if we throw everything we have into efficiency improvements and renewable energy technologies, they will help us reduce emissions by at most 4% per year. So how do we bridge the rest of the gap? Well, industrialised countries will have no choice but to downscale their economic activity by 4-6% per year. And poor countries are going to have to follow suit after 2025, downscaling by about 3% per year. In other words, the climate science recognises a clear de-growth imperative… We face a stark choice: either we act now, right-sizing our economy and managing the transition in a careful and controlled way, or climate change will do it for us. If we wait for the latter option it will be unimaginably destructive and chaotic. According to Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics, 4C of global warming will cost us at least 5% of global GDP per year indefinitely, and possibly as much as 20% – economic crisis on a scale never seen before” (Jason Hickel, “The Paris climate deal won’t save us – our future depends on de-growth”, The Guardian, 3 July 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jul/03/paris-climate-deal-wont-work-our-future-depends-degrowth ).

Dr Jason Hickel (2017): “In the coming decades, we’ll be able to reduce the carbon intensity (CO2 per unit of GDP) of the global economy by about 1.9 per cent per year, they say, if we make heavy investments in clean energy and efficient technology. That’s a lot. But as long as the economy keeps growing by more than that, total emissions are still going to rise. Right now we’re ratcheting up global GDP by 3 per cent per year. At that rate, the maths is not in our favour; on the contrary, it’s slapping us in the face. In fact, according to new models published last year, with a background rate of 3 per cent GDP growth it’s not possible to achieve any level of emissions reductions at all, even under best-case-scenario conditions. Study after study shows the same thing: keeping global warming below 2 degrees is simply not compatible with continued economic growth” (Jason Hickel, “Why less is more. There’s only one way to avoid climate catastrophe: de-growing our economy”, International Politics Society, 2 October 2017: https://www.ips-journal.eu/topics/environment/article/show/why-less-is-more-2325/ ).


KALLIS. Giorgos Kallis (author of “Degrowth”)  on the how of degrowth (2018): “Subject to a radical and egalitarian social transformation, it is possible to sustain well-being and improve living and ecological conditions in an economy that unavoidably will contract. Seen as a research programme, the agenda is to find how, or under what conditions, this may become possible” (Giorgos Kallis,“Degrowth”, Agenda, 2018;   quoted in Riccardo Mastini, “Degrowth as concrete utopia”, Countercurrents, 22 November 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/11/22/degrowth-as-a-concrete-utopia/ ).

Publisher’s description of Degrowth” by Giorgos Kallis (2018): “The term “degrowth” has emerged within ecological and other heterodox schools of economics as a critique of the idea (and ideology) of economic growth. Degrowth argues that economic growth is no longer desirable – its costs exceed its benefits – and advocates a transformation of economies so that they produce and consume less, differently and better. Giorgos Kallis provides a clear and succinct guide to the central ideas of degrowth theory and explores what it would take for an economy to transition to a position that enables it to prosper without growth. The book examines how mainstream conceptualizations of the economy are challenged by degrowth theory and how degrowth draws on a multifaceted network of ideas across disciplines to shed new light on the economic process. The central claims of the degrowth literature are discussed alongside some key criticisms of them” (Degrowth” by Giorgos Kallis”, Agenda, June 2018: https://www.agendapub.com/books/32/degrowth ).


LATOUCHE. Serge Latouche (emeritus professor of economics at the University of Paris-Sud and expert on degrowth) (2004): “Degrowth must apply to the South as much as to the North if there is to be any chance to stop Southern societies from rushing up the blind alley of growth economics. Where there is still time, they should aim not for development but for disentanglement—removing the obstacles that prevent them from developing differently….Southern countries need to escape their economic and cultural dependence on the North and rediscover their own histories—interrupted by colonialism, development and globalization—to establish distinct indigenous cultural identities….Insisting on growth in the South, as though it were the only way out of the misery that growth created, can only lead to further westernization” (Serge Latouche, “Degrowth Economics,” Le Monde Diplomatique (English edition), November 2004, http://mondediplo.com ; quoted in John Bellamy Foster, “Capitalism and degrowth: an impossibility theorem”, Monthly Review, 1 January 2011: https://monthlyreview.org/2011/01/01/capitalism-and-degrowth-an-impossibility-theorem/ ).


MASTINI. Riccardo Mastini (a PhD candidate in Ecological Economics and Political Ecology in the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain) on degrowth (2018): “The emergence of interest in degrowth can be traced back to the 1st International Degrowth Conference organized in Paris in 2008. At this conference, degrowth was defined as a “voluntary transition towards a just, participatory, and ecologically sustainable society,” so challenging the dogma of economic growth. Another five international conferences were organized between 2010 and 2018… Revisioning productivity is also important: taking resources and time out of the production circuit and devoting them instead to politics and leisure, or to spending time with family and friends. Unlike today, productivity would not be the final objective of public policies. Even if we are less productive, relational ‘goods’ increase and compensate for the loss of material goods. Furthermore, in degrowth, unpaid care work would be valued, and cooperatives or not-for-profits would become the dominant producers, employing most of the working population. As a consequence, the realm of production for profit would be radically reduced, and opportunities for accumulation – that is, investment for expansion and further profit – would be curtailed. Even though the contraction of the economy is not the goal, in the long run this is inevitable. And it will happen either as a broader political project of social transformation (i.e. degrowth) or catastrophically through a series of crises”  (Riccardo Mastini, “Degrowth as concrete utopia”, Countercurrents, 22 November 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/11/22/degrowth-as-a-concrete-utopia/ ).


MEYNEN. Nick Meynen (contributor  to  The Ecologist concerned with  environmental justice, globalization and human-nature relationships) (2016): “Ten years ago only a few professors and some activists used the word "degrowth" as alternative to the neoliberal model of perpetual economic growth. Today, "degrowth economics" is an activist academic discipline with dozens of top-quality peer reviewed papers, widely translated books like “Degrowth. A Vocabulary for a new era” and massive bi-annual conferences - like the ongoing 2016 Budapest Degrowth Conference and Week. At least one thing unites those activists and scholars: they all agree that the basic assumption of the necessity of economic growth is fatally flawed and in urgent need of correction simply because it undermines the conditions for humanity to thrive. Sustainable degrowth challenges inequalities and the environmental destruction caused by a growth-oriented development paradigm; it calls for a downscaling of production and consumption, but also a rethinking of human and planetary wellbeing. It calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open, localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions” (Nick Meynen, “Why the degrowth debate is gaining momentum”,  The Ecologist, 2 September 2016: https://theecologist.org/2016/sep/02/why-degrowth-debate-gaining-momentum ).


POLYA. Dr Gideon Polya (Australian scientist and humanitarian activist ) on Polya’s 3 Laws of Economics and  the terminal consequences of neoliberal capitalist growth (2015):Terracide and the Third Law of Economics. The World will exceed its Terminal Carbon Budget for a 75% probability of avoiding plus 2 degrees C in about 3 years, and the world’s “goal” of a plus 2 degrees C temperature rise is disastrous for Humanity and the Biosphere, yielding at equilibrium sea levels “at least 6 to 8 metres higher” according Dr. James Hansen of NASA and 101-Nobel-Laureate Columbia University. Both Dr. James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Deputy Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have estimated that only about 0.5 billion people may survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming, this corresponding to a climate genocide involving about 10 billion people dying avoidably this century. The Third Law of Economics states there is no work, price or profit on a dead planet.…  Polya’s 3 Laws of Economics mirror the 3 Laws of Thermodynamics and are (1) Price minus COP (Cost of Production) equals profit; (2) Deception about COP strives to a maximum; and (3) No work, price or profit on a dead planet. These 3 Laws of Economics are useful in exposing and assessing massive deceptions in neoliberal capitalism involving the dangerously uncosted exploitation of human and physical resources for private profit. As exampled above, application of the First Law of Economics enables quantitation of huge hidden subsidies from the remorseless deception described by the Second Law of Economics. The Third Law of Economics presents a terminal boundary condition of the human condition in which irreversible greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, ecocide, speciescide and climate genocide have led to omnicide and terracide, the destruction of Humanity and the Biosphere” (Gideon Polya, “Polya’s Laws of Economics expose neoliberal capitalism:, MWC News, 17 October 2015: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/54945-polyas-laws-of-economics-expose.html ).


RAFTERY. Adrian E. Raftery et al. (climate scientists) (2017): The recently published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections to 2100 give likely ranges of global temperature increase in four scenarios for population, economic growth and carbon use. However, these projections are not based on a fully statistical approach. Here we use a country-specific version of Kaya’s identity to develop a statistically based probabilistic forecast of CO2 emissions and temperature change to 2100. Using data for 1960–2010, including the UN’s probabilistic population projections for all countries, we develop a joint Bayesian hierarchical model for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and carbon intensity. We find that the 90% interval for cumulative CO2 emissions includes the IPCC’s two middle scenarios but not the extreme ones. The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0–4.9 °C, with median 3.2 °C and a 5% (1%) chance that it will be less than 2 °C (1.5 °C). Population growth is not a major contributing factor. Our model is not a ‘business as usual’ scenario, but rather is based on data which already show the effect of emission mitigation policies. Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 °C warming will require carbon intensity to decline much faster than in the recent past” (Adrian E. Raftery, Alec Zimmer, Dargan M. W. Frierson, Richard Startz & Peiran Liu, “Less than 2oC warming by 2100 unlikely”,  Nature Climate Change volume 7, pages 637641, 2017: https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3352 ).


SATGAR. Vishwas Satgar (Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, University of the Witwatersrand) on degrowth and the climate crisis 2018): “The world is moving rapidly closer to a 2°C increase in planetary temperature. With this shift, extreme weather events such as droughts, heatwaves, drier conditions enabling fires and floods are becoming more commonplace. Sea levels are also rising, placing many low-lying communities, populous coastal cities and island states in jeopardy. Climate change on this scale is not expected to unfold in a linear way. Instead, it potentially can happen abruptly or through feedback loops further accelerating runaway climate change. Examples of this include methane release from the Arctic ice sheet, carbon saturation in the oceans and the destruction of rain forests which all feed into the climate change crisis. As the world fails to address the climate crisis, it becomes more complex and more costly. In response, the Climate Crisis [“The Climate Crisis- South African and Global Democratic Eco-Socialist Alternatives” edited by Vishwas Satgar] highlights the importance of advancing a deep and just transition that decarbonises society and provides a new basis for organising society to endure climate shocks. New systems have to be developed through democratic systemic reforms. These would include the rights of nature, degrowth, climate jobs, socially owned renewable energy, a substantive basic income grant, integrated public transport, food sovereignty, solidarity economy and commons approaches to land, water and the cyber sphere” (Vishwas Satgar, “A Marxist approach appropriate for the climate crisis and the 21st century”, The Conversation, 25 March 2018: https://theconversation.com/a-marxist-approach-appropriate-for-the-climate-crisis-and-the-21st-century-92856 ).


SHIVA. Dr Vandana Shiva (Indian physicist, writer  and environmental activist) on degrowth for America versus growth and  equality for Indians) (2010): “ India is not shining, as it concerns the tribal or the farmers who have been uprooted, cause their children are getting hungry. In the period of India’s shining the poor capital, food consumption has dropped from 170 kg to 150 kg, every Indian has lost 20 kg of food for chasing this model. Now data also showed out that 125 Indians who became billionaires, now control a ¼ of India’s economy. We never had such a level of inequality. We have a ¼ of 1.2 billion people’s economy being controlled by hundreds rich men, who are abusing a democracy, twisting laws every day and wound farmers or tribal, who have to fight new laws when the government takes the land by force from people and hands it over to these billionaires who then resell it for super-profit, to global investors etc., so India is wiping, the real India is wiping. The mothers who can’t feed their children are crying, the tribal who do not want to give up their land are crying. What would be the way to forward it? I have just come from Bhutan, where I was advising the Prime Minister in a conference because Bhutan has said that we will not go for the gross domestic product and gross national product, we will go for a gross domestic happiness and every step we take we will measure it in terms of what it adds up to people happiness. Happiness does not come out of growth, it comes out of the natural world, out of culture, which we are proud of; it comes out of community, from care and compassion for each other. The entire nation has to make the shift, so I think is not a issue of de-growth. De-growth is fine for America, the recipe of de-growth fits for hundreds billionaires, but not for the Indian owners; they eat and drink too little as it is, I do not suggest de-growth for that and sustainable development is a too ambiguous terms. I like the focus that Bhutan has put on it, they focus on happiness and wellbeing of their people, the very easy way is to measure that directly” (Vandana Shiva in interview, “Population and Development. An exclusive interview with Dr Vandana Shiva”, Freedom of Research, 11 January 2010: https://www.freedomofresearch.org/population-development-an-exclusive-interview-with-dr-vandana-shiva/ ).


SWEEZY. Paul Sweezy (Marxist economist) on required de-growth (1989):  “Since there is no way to increase the capacity of the environment to bear the [economic and population] burdens placed on it, it follows that the adjustment must come entirely from the other side of the equation. And since the disequilibrium has already reached dangerous proportions, it also follows that what is essential for success is a reversal, not merely a slowing down, of the underlying trends of the last few centuries” (Paul M. Sweezy, “Capitalism and the Environment,” Monthly Review 41, no. 2, June 1989:  6 ).

 

ZUESSE. Eric Zuesse ( eco-socialist writer) setting out the worsening consequences of atmospheric CO2, population and  economic growth (2018): “There are now overt indications that this planet is becoming uninhabitable. Not only are increasing numbers of humans migrating from near the Equator, northward toward nations that have more temperate climates, but also there are stronger and more frequent hurricanes and longer droughts and spreading desertification and larger and more frequent forest fires, all of which are lowering agricultural productivity in the global-overheating areas from which these migrants are coming. This is forcing billions of people to relocate from rural farming southern regions into big cities, and ultimately toward the cooler climates of the more-polar regions, as the large central Equatorial belt of our increasingly hot planet becomes less and less inhabitable for more and more of the people who are so unfortunate as to be still living there. Thus, instead of food being grown in that broad Equatorial belt where the Earth is fat and large, it’s increasingly being grown near the narrow, tiny, polar region. Agriculture is moving northward, and, as it does so, it will be occupying a band too small to feed the world. Agriculture is thus being severely threatened worldwide by global heating. Starvation will consequently soar, as this planet increasingly burns.…The term tipping point is most typically used, in the context of climate change, to describe situations in which the climate system (the atmosphere, hydrosphere, land, cryosphere, and biosphere) reaches a point at which a disproportionally large or singular response in a climateaffected system occurs as a result of a moderate additional change in the inputs to that system (such as an increase in the CO2 concentration). … [It] could result in abrupt changes in the climate or any part of the climate system. Abrupt climate changes could occur so quickly and unexpectedly that human systems would have difficulty adapting to them. They are asserting what the scientific consensus has been asserting for the past fifty years, and with ever-increasing confidence: that the graph of future temperatures is now like a hockey-stick, and we’ve reached the suddenly and increasingly upward far-right side of it, where there’s runaway global heating and will soon (perhaps within even 200 years) be global burnout — an unlivable planet” (Eric Zuesse, “Why this planet is becoming uninhabitable”, Countercurrents, 18 November 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/11/18/why-this-planet-is-becoming-uninhabitable/ ).

 
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