Version 3.2_September 2016

Academic Special Session: Law and institutions as central foci in the degrowth debate

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While degrowth debates have been centered (1) on ways to abandon GDP and productivity as drivers of a throughput economy, (2 ) on acknowledging that some very important attributes of a just society are not captured in markets, and (3) on ways to address wealth and income inequality, changing and challenging the economic paradigm has dominated the debate. This session argues that law and legal institutions, reflecting and implementing values of justice and fairness – such as the precautionary principle, Rawlsian justice, and distributive justice -- have been held hostage to economic thinking to the detriment of needed transformations. New forms of democracy and new institutions that are not subject to economic rationalism must emerge if we are to succeed in implementing a new social contract.