Degrowth, equality and democracy by Giorgos Kallis

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Published on October 15, 2014

Author: Research_and_Degrowth

Source: slideshare.net

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A short presentation on the intellectual antecedents of the theory of degrowth in the social sciences.

1. Degrowth, equality and democracy Giorgos Kallis, ICREA Professor ESEE 2011, Pre-conference workshop, Istanbul, 14 June 2011

2. Degrowth premises 1. Growth does not resolve inequalities. 2. Sustainable degrowth should be a redistributive and equalizing process. 3. Growth above a certain level erodes democracy. 4. Sustainable degrowth should come through a directly democratic process. The end state should be a deepened, inclusive democracy.

3. This presentation  Intellectual background Ivan Illich Cornelius Castoriadis Fred Hirsch  Problematizing degrowth, equality and democracy.

4. Ivan Illich  1926-2002  Anarchist catholic priest  Work on the school, health, energy and transportation systems.  Austrian globetrotter, lived and worked most of his life in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

5. Key ideas  “Socialism can only arrive in a bicycle”.  Above a certain scale (of energy use) distribution of control intensifies and social relations degrade.  “Technocracy” of experts erodes democracy.  Participatory democracy requires low energy technologies.  Industrial vs. convivial tools.  The need for collective limitations.

6. Cornelius Castoriadis  1922 – 1966  Philosopher, economist, psychoanalyst.  Greek partisan, migrated to France.  Economist at OECD, revolutionary writing with a pseudonym. Post-Marxist French left.  Developed the ideas of autonomy and the social imaginary.

7. Key ideas  Auto-nomy as a process of self-institution of society.  Direct democracy as a revolutionary project of self-institution.  Economic growth (development) is the modern secular religion: growth for growth’s sake.  We are living an era of depolitization and the rule of experts.  (Decolonizing) the social imaginary.

8. Fred Hirsch  1931 – 1978  Austrian economist, worked at the Economist, the IMF and U. of Warwick.  “Material growth cannot make everyone middle class”

9. Key ideas  Positional goods are socially limited (scarce).  Once material needs are satisfied, relative price of positional goods increases and do does political demand for generalised access.  Economic growth renders positional goods mass, but does not reduce inequalities, while it wastes public resources.  Time scarcity leads to less time for public affairs.  Commodification erodes social ties and institutions.

10. Problematizing degrowth and democracy  If degrowth is framed in limit terms, there is a possible techocratic drift.  The scale problem: local vs. national vs. international levels of democracy.  The strategy question: vote or exit?

11. Problematizing degrowth and equality  Equality and redistribution in what?  Equality and positional goods.  Effects of degrowth on positional goods – “getting down all together”.  Redistribution without growth.

12. Thank you giorgoskallis@gmail.com

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