“DeGrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era”

30 11 2014

Editorial Reviews


“DeGrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era” illuminates diverse concepts for clear thinking, provides us with new languages for political discourse, and outlines the many steps we can take to recreate our economy, our lives, and our relations to planet Earth. Call it what you want: happiness, living within limits, community, real democracy “DeGrowth” both calls and empowers us to bold action.” Richard Norgaard, Professor Emeritus of Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley.
” Dalisa s book is an excellent introduction to the politics of “degrowth” in its different meanings and dimensions that are analyzed and catalogued in dozens of entries providing an indispensable point of reference for anyone interested in joining the debates surrounding this perspective. It is also an eye-opener to the evolution of the concept. For as the editors introduction demonstrates, degrowth for many signifies a variety of initiatives time banks, local currencies, urban gardens, solidarity economies proposing an alternative to capitalist accumulation and the reconstruction of our reproduction on more cooperative terms. This then is a volume that those committed to building non exploitative relations will need to consult as it offers a map to the world of alternatives to capitalisms. “Silvia Federici, Professor Emerita of Social Science at Hofstra University, ” “Hempstead.”
This dictionary is a vital resource for those who want to engage with the diverse networks of ideas and traditions, analytical concepts and theories known as “Degrowth.” It is also one indispensable compass to find orientation in the complex simplicity of alternatives. ” Massimo De Angelis Professor of Political Economy and Development at the University of East London,” “London.” Humanity has already crossed the ecological limits of the earth; we have been terrible guests of our planet. Radical steps to reduce our impacts are our most crucial task, particularly so for those parts of the world that have been responsible for unsustainable development pathways. It needs to be heeded even by so-called ‘developing’ countries as they blindly follow the same pathways. Degrowth is very much a part of the global search for alternative ways of human well-being that are sustainable and equitable, and this book offers a comprehensive exploration of its various dimensions. The section on ‘Alliances’ from non-western perspectives is a bit thin, but a welcome beginning to the possibilities of a truly global framework of values that could lead us out of our collective planetary crisis. ” Ashish Kothari, member of Kalpavriksh, Puna; and co-author of “Churning the earth: The Making of Global India.”
” Reinventing the growth trajectory is equally critical for the rest of the world in this age of climate risk and present and future danger. Degrowth is then the new vocabulary that we must learn and practice.” Sunita Narain, Director of the Centre of Science and Environment Delhi; and editor of the magazine Down To Earth. ” In times marked by political stupor, it is refreshing to have such a light-footed guide through a universe of anti-mainstream ideas ranging from conviviality to Ubuntu, and from urban gardening to entropy.” Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Founder and long-term of the Institute of Social Ecology at Alpen Adria University, Vienna. “
For the poor to grow up to a steady-state economy that is sufficient for a good life and sustainable for a long future, the rich must make ecological space by de-growing down to the same sufficient (not luxurious) steady-state level. Essays in this collection recognize the necessity to face this difficult convergent task of justly sharing our finite world. Herman Daly, Emeritus Professor of Ecological Economics at University of Maryland, Maryland. The editors invite the reader to make their own voyage through this book. It is sage advice, for readers will wander through a wonderland of radical thoughts, intriguing observations and bold visions for a different kind of world. It’s exciting and deeply subversive. Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University and University of Melbourne, Melbourne. Author of “Growth fetish” and “Earthmasters” “
” We know that there are limits of growth just as there are limits to growth. The former teaches us that beyond a certain size of the economy, certainly as measured by GDP, more growth does’t increase welfare but reduces it, so that society would be better off with less GDP. Many “advanced” countries today are already beyond that point and are experiencing what herman daly calls “uneconomic growth.” This exciting book is a pioneering exploration of the recently come-of-age field of degrowth economics and policy. It will be landmark for all those who want to transcend the growth fetish that has so many enthralled today. ” James Gustave Speth, Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School, Royalton. Author of “America the possible: manifesto for a new economy.” ” We really need to develop a vocabulary for a new era, and this timely book takes us a great step forward by providing an impressive collection of concepts and ideas related to the degrowth debate. It is a very useful resource for both newcomers and seasoned participants. Due to the broad coverage, everyone can find inspiration and new links between ideas by following one s own personal track through the entries it is a pleasure.” Inge Ropke, Professor of Ecological Economics Aalborg University, Copenhagen.”
This volume is indispensable for anybody interested in moving beyond mere retrofit solutions to the most important economic and ecological conundrums of our time. This book helps bury several oxymoron-constructs masquerading as solutions to the human predicament. It achieves this by landing definitive intellectual and political blows to both the desirability and possibility of unfettered economic growth as a panacea for all ills.” Deepak Malghan, Professor of Ecological Economics at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, India, and Princeton University, USA”
What a splendid vocabulary! A range of international authors brilliantly surveys the emerging field of an economics which bids farewell to the obsession of growth. The entries are compact yet eloquent, learned yet action-oriented. In the new style of economic thought, ideas like sharing, frugality, debt-free money, dematerialization, and digital commons play a leading role. Whoever wants to know more about an economy of permanence for the 21th century should reach for this book.” Wolfgang Sachs, Professor of Social Science at the Wuppertal Institute, Berlin. Editor of: “The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power.”
” In this timely and important (both academically and politically) contribution, D Alisa, Demaria and Kallis offer the definitive collection on Degrowth. Comprising 51 compelling contributions by key international scholars, the collection juxtaposes in a critical manner the economic, social, political, and ecological aspects of the Degrowth thesis, to mainstream debates on economic development, sustainable growth and environmental (in)justice. This is an invaluable source of knowledge and inspiration for anyone interested academically or politically in alternative ways of thinking and acting about the environment and development. The collection is of interest to economists, political scientists, ecologists, geographers, planners, environmentalists, activists, development scholars, anthropologists, policy makers, and to anyone who wishes to think and act in ways that transcend the current environmental and economic impasse. ” Maria Kaika, Professor in Human Geography, University of Manchester, Manchester.”
Degrowth takes the false coin of economic growth via capital accumulation and confronts it head on: There is no wealth but life and to protect life on the planet and to ensure the future for all it is necessary to exit the current system of production. This is the essential message for our time.” John Bellamy Foster, professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, Eugene; and editor of Monthly Review and author of “Marx s ecology.”
” A thought-provoking, wide-ranging, spirited, and deeply original analysis; this book is a must-read on degrowth debates.” Karen Bakker, Professor and Canada Research Chair Director, Program on Water Governance, Universty of British Columbia, Vancouver. ” Degrowth thinking is a strategic meeting place for many trends in contemporary environmental politics, and this encyclopaedic compendium, at once widely accessible and deeply informative, will be invaluable in advancing the work of both academics and activists committed to building eco-sufficiency and global justice.” Ariel Salleh, Professor of Social Science at Friedrich Schiller University, Jena.”
At a time in history when political, economic and intellectual leaders assure us that nothing fundamental can any longer be questioned, nothing could be more important than the movement – of thought, and of action that this volume on Degrowth represents. It raises the prospect of finally ejecting the twin demons of productivism and consumerism that are responsible for so many historical failures of the left as well as the right, and begins to set about the real work of imagining and building a society fit for human beings to live in.” David Graeber, Professor of” “Anthropology at London School of Economics, London.”
This book is one of the most thorough and insightful presentations and discussion of economic theory and practice in the field of de-growth economics, a revolutionary attempt to understand the economy as if humans and Nature matter.” Manuel Castells, Professor Emeritus of City And Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley.” Degrowth is more than just an idea: it is a dream. A recurrent, collective dream that has spread from philosophers and visionary economists to a variety of social movements that have put it into practice by activating economies of care. Born in the 1970s, it has survived the neo-liberal hegemony and as this book convincingly shows has gone more political (and more feminist) through collective think…

About the Authors

Giacomo D’Alisa is Research Fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Federico Demaria is a PhD candidate at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Giorgios Kallis is Research Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

The three editors are members of Research & Degrowth, http://www.degrowth.org




4 responses

30 11 2014
John Doyle

I’d be interested to know that efforts for a “new economy” actively avoided current macroeconomic thinking. This so called Neoliberal economy we are living through today is dysfunctional to the point of being ridiculous, yet it is the guide behind the nonsense spoken by our politicians and the MSM.
To see what the falsities are, read this treatise by Warren Mosler:
According to Mr Mosler he thinks MMT can guide economies through degrowth as well as growth, so he told me.
Certainly economic theory otherwise could not function without growth.
It would become yet another nail in the coffin of our current decadent, and debt fuelled civilization!

30 11 2014
John Doyle

PS, We will be extremely fortunate to go though anything like degrowth.
Humanity is making NO plans to manage such an eventuality and the subject seems totally taboo. Democracy won’t help us survive because it has a fundamental, lethal flaw; Short term thinking.
We are nearing energy cliffs in many materials, not just oil. And finding more oil only makes the problem more severe a little further along the track, because it gives us more time to do even more damage to our planet.
God help the survivors, the few left after this mob finishes with the planet.

30 11 2014

No mention of population. The first thing we have to do is reduce our numbers. Then we have to decide what sort of a lifestyle is sustainable long-term. And we have to reduce our numbers to what that lifestyle will support. And keep it that way.

30 11 2014


Long ago I saw the problem China was heading for with their one child per family, i.e. The sudden drop created a situation where there would be no one to care for old people. Also they concentrated on male children giving rise to a real gender imbalance.

My wife and I saw the need to reduce the global population but felt that it needed to be gradual so as to not become unstable. If no woman had more than two children there would be a gradual and manageable population reduction. In our family we stopped at two children because of this view. I sometimes wonder if it has made any difference because the problem is more than just population.

Anyway the two we had were perfect and as the song says “….. You’ve got to know when to fold up….”

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