Version 3.2_September 2016
Individual Paper: The Luxury of not Having to Grow
Degrowth and Social Innovations in East Asia
The paper addresses opportunities for degrowth concepts in East Asia and for diffusion pathways of social innovations between Europe and East Asia.
Problems of jobless growth, social inequality, a seemingly irreversible trend of growing societal pressure to perform and an alarmingly deteriorating environment have given rise to a wide range of initiatives in East Asia in recent years. They are – in many diverse ways - directed towards decelerated and less materialistic life styles. This development is relevant with regard to two frequently discussed subjects in the degrowth debate. The first refers to the potential of degrowth ideas to be shared across cultural lines, the second – with regard to China - touches on the question to which extent degrowth could be a concept for developing countries.
Focusing on China, Japan and South Korea the paper seeks to contribute to this debate. It argues that both theory- and practice-oriented projects in these countries show that we can draw on far more connecting than separating value-based parameters in eastern and western approaches and that Chinese projects illustrate clearly that a reasonable implementation of degrowth strategies is by no means restricted to industrialized countries.
Yet, East Asian initiatives have mainly remained local in scope and are insufficiently connected to the western discourse. Strengthening the dialogue on western and eastern sufficiency knowledge and transformation strategies would make a valuable contribution towards developing a joint sustainability culture. With regard to this desideratum the paper concludes by recommending measures to intensify the degrowth debate between Europe and East Asia.
Start time: 14:30
Track: Global village