SUSTAINABLE DE-GROWTH. The concept The policies needed Which social forces (North & South) will promote de-growth The international environmental justice movement Joan.Martinez.Alier@uab.cat Paris 18-19 April, 2008. There is no need to tell lies.
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The policies needed
Which social forces (North & South) will promote de-growth
The international environmental justice movement
Paris 18-19 April, 2008
This is CHREMATISTICS. Macroeconomic accounts (GDP) aggregate the quantities multiplied by the prices.
This is BIOECONOMICS / ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS
(from N. Georgescu Roegen 1966, 1971, Herman Daly 1968, A. Kneese and R.U. Ayres, 1969, Kenneth Boulding, 1966).
B) Remuneration must be decoupled from employment even to a much larger extent than today (not only young people and pensionists). Redefine employment (domestic services, voluntariat) + Citizens’ Revenue.
First, as the feminist movement made clear decades ago, GDP does not value what is not in the market, like unpaid domestic work and voluntary work. A society rich in "relational goods and services" would have a lower GDP than an (impossible) society where personal relations would be exclusively mediated by the market. The Sustainable Degrowth movement insists on the non-chrematistic value of local, reciprocal services.
Second, economists (or rather, psychologists) now agree that above a certain threshold GDP growth does not lead necessarily to greater happiness. This research updates the literature on the so-called Easterlin Paradox.
MALTHUSIANISM.- Population undergoes exponential growth unless checked by war and pestilence, or by chastity and late marriages. Food grows less than proportionately to the labour input, because of decreasing returns. Hence, subsistence crises.
NEO-MALTHUSIANISM OF 1900.- Human populations could regulate their own growth through contraception. Women’s freedom was required for this, and desirable for its own sake. Poverty was explained by social inequality. “Conscious procreation” needed to prevent low wages, and pressure on natural resources. This was a successful bottom-up movement in Europe and America against States (which wanted more soldiers) and Churches.
NEO-MALTHUSIANISM AFTER 1970.- A doctrine and practice sponsored by international organizations and some governments. Population growth is seen as a main cause of poverty and environmental degradation. Therefore States must introduce contraceptive methods, even without women’s prior consent.
ANTI-MALTHUSIANISM.- The view that assumes that human population growth is no major threat to the natural environment, and that it is conducive to economic growth.
There must be a confluence of
- conservationists (concerned with the loss of biodiversity),
- people concerned with climate change,
- socialists who want more economic justice in the world,
- pessimists (or realists) on the risks and uncertainties of technical change
- and the movements of the Environmentalism of the Poor that demand the preservation of the environment for livelihood.
Environmental Justice: the strongest force for sustainability