Participatory Session: Is Degrowth peaceable?
How can efforts for peace and degrowth be made mutually supportive?
Through the SDGs, the issue of peace and (social) conflict has finally overcome its separation from the overall sustainability discourse. However, specifically for socially sustainable degrowth the discussion on how to integrate issues of peace and conflict into policy strategies has hardly begun yet.
Degrowth, the slimming of the physical economy, will affect the monetary economy as well, probably leading to limitations of the overall economic activity. As a result of the fact that the pie is not growing any more, conflicts about its distribution will arise, between labour, capital and the state as provider of public goods. To make degrowth sustainable, probably collective use and consumption, and hence the public share must grow, while the shares of labour and in particular of capital will have to shrink: a massive redistribution is part of sustainable degrowth. Which strategies doe the potential beneficiaries have to deal with the fierce resistance to be expected from the losers of any such redistribution? Which roles do power relations, institutions and the media play? Peace and conflict resolution research may have important hints, but they have not yet been taken on board by the degrowth movement.
Internationally, physical degrowth will reduce the demand for raw materials, eroding the basic source of income, jobs and livelihoods in many countries of the South. On the other hand, reduced demand would be a pressure relief for mining-plagued regions, help ending dispossession for the plantation industry and probably reduce land grabbing. It is for these reasons that environmental justice organisations in the South sympathise with degrowth in the North, while social justice organisations including many trade unions are sceptical or outright opposed to the concept. So the question has to be answered how degrowth in the affluent countries should pursued to be as socially sustainable as possible in the South as well? How can violent conflicts including the murder of NGO activists and leaders, which are rapidly growing all over the world, be minimised? How can the necessary redistribution of income and wealth in North and South be achieved without civil wars and strangulating sanctions from the global centres of economic power?
Finally, peace activists are not always aware of the growth and sustainability implications of their suggested solutions; including degrowth into such strategies could make them more robust and realistic. Thus researchers and activists from both movements have good reasons for exchanging experiences and starting joint concept development.
Start time: 11:00
Room: Nöjesteatern (Estraden)
Track: War and Peace