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Individual Paper: Degrowth and Prosperity

Towards a vision and concept of “prosperity” which is both “degrowth” and attractive for larger parts of the “average” population

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Degrowth and Prosperity. Towards a vision and concept of “prosperity” which is both “degrowth” and attractive for larger parts of the “average” population

The problem: Degrowth is as a concept und as a social movement still too far away from the everyday social problems of „normal“ people and it is too little present in socio-political debates. Still hegemonic is the imaginery: the major way to improve life conditions is a more just distribution of the monetary fruits of economic growth. As we as “degrowers” know, this becomes a more and more risky illusion and a major obstacle towards a socio-ecologically transformative path towards a degrowth society and is a strong driving force for growth.
Our proposal: One way to change this hegemony could be a collective process, to “practically” re-define prosperity. Possible preconditions and elements of such a concept compatible to degrowth are e.g.:
It substantially refers to felt needs and social problems which are insufficiently respected within the present framework (e.g. reflected in time pressure, lack of sovereignty, security and long term prospects as a “labour force”, inadequate recognition for care as paid and unpaid work etc.).
- It offers conditions and modes by which they could be met outside the dominating commercialized relationships (e.g. by more actually disposable time; enlarged (ecologically) efficient public services and infrastructures, partially replacing individual ownership etc.). Therefore it does not necessarily stimulate growth, but could reduce dependencies and pressures exposed by it.
- Such aims are already subject to demands, struggles, initiatives of different social movements,( e.g. networks for Basic Income, feminist Care Revolution, German Trade Union Campaign for qualitatively “Good work”) and other political actors which do not necessarily define themselves as “degrowers” but which are potential partners of transformations towards degrowth..
- Progress in implementing such alternative forms of prosperity and welfare are able to confine causes and effects of alienation, subalternity, inequality, thus also of compensatoric consumption. The struggle for it and experienced successes would contribute to a (“non-consumeristic”) cultural change that prepares ground for a broader acceptance of degrowth and for structural reforms in this direction.


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 14:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF (Stora Salen)
Track: Subjectivities, Values, Ideas and Satisfactions



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