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Individual Paper: Adolph Lowe’s Instrumental Method as a Policy Discovery Tool for the Degrowth Movement

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The degrowth literature reveals countless proposals as to the processual changes that must be undertaken to reduce the environmental impact of human activities, redistribute income and wealth, and transition to a lifestyle of radical simplicity. In other words, how to achieve environmental sustainability, social equity and human wellbeing. Such proposals differ dramatically, but especially in terms of the geographical focus of their policy objectives with respect to scale, distribution and allocation. It is also difficult to reconcile national top-down proposals with local bottom-up approaches, but especially while getting them to work in combination or complement to each other. In order to solve for the intricacies of degrowth planning, Adolph Lowe’s instrumental method is an ideal tool for economists to realistically generate an attainable policy framework toward a future of degrowth. Adolph Lowe was an economist who made significant contributions to the field of political economics. He proposed a radical change in economic methodology— the instrumental method— which allows for the practitioner to reshape the underlying legal-institutional frameworks within which markets are produced and function. Instead of taking only the initial conditions as known and addressing theory to outcomes as most economists do, Lowe proposed also taking as known a predetermined end-state. The end-state is the “vision” or the desired macro-outcomes on the part of the economist. The task of the economist is the discovery of the unknown technical, behavioral and social path(s) by which these outcomes might be achieved. It is the duty of the economic theorist not to determine the end, but to devise the means for its attainment. Consequently, this policy-discovery process begins from where the economist wants to go and works backwards to the present state. Using the instrumental method, this paper will weave together existing policies found in the degrowth literature in order to bring about a cogent path to degrowth across distinct geographies.


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 11:15
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF (Lilla sallen)
Track: - Other - (fill submission note below)



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