Planned Economic Contraction: The Emerging Case for Degrowth
24 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2011
Date Written: August 3, 2011
This article outlines the sociological, ecological, and economic foundations of a macroeconomics ‘beyond growth,’ focusing on the idea of degrowth. Degrowth opposes conventional growth economics on the grounds that growth in the highly developed nations has become socially counter-productive, ecologically unsustainable, and uneconomic. Stagnating energy supplies also suggest an imminent ‘end of growth’ (Heinberg, 2011). In response to growth economics, degrowth scholars call for a politico-economic policy of planned economic contraction, an approach which has been broadly defined as ‘an equitable downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions’ (Schneider et al, 2010, p. 512). After defining growth economics and outlining the emerging case for degrowth, this article considers the feasibility of a macroeconomics beyond growth and sketches an outline of what such a macroeconomics might look like as a politico-economic program.
Keywords: degrowth, voluntary simplicity, economic growth, GDP, GPI, post-growth, peak oil, threshold hypothesis
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