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  • 1. Sustainable Degrowth of production/consumption capacities Francois Schneider Associate Researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona ICTA
  • 2. Is there limits to growth? • Green growth • Green new deal • Sustainable development • Technical Progress • Cleaner production • Industrial Ecology • Sustainable consumption • Higher quality of life • Improvement of well-being
  • 3. Degrowth for sustainability and equity • Slogan to challenge the consensus for growth: « missile concept » • Reduction of the capacity to produce and consume – that is sustainable, balanced, democratic, convivial, ecological, social, positive, cultural, fair, innovative, diversified, targeted, local, global and transitory.
  • 4. Clarifications for Sustainable Degrowth • The first degrowth: degrowth of inequity • Process of transformation • Lower actual and potential consumption and production • Diverse : generalisable but unique lifestyles • Personal and collective at local and global levels • Democratic: for growth critics and implementation • NOT a universal concept • Avoiding crisis or recession (failed growth) • Transition to multi-dimentional mildly- fluctuating sustainable state • Taking account of global consequences • Innovative (frugal innovation)
  • 5. Different De-growth Streams 1- Degrowth as voluntary simplicity Henri Thoreau/Mahatma Ghandi... 2- De-growth as important cultural change, away from “economism” Jacques Ellul/Ivan Illich/François Partant/André Gorz... 3- Physical and economic de-growth, degrowth of consumption and production capacity Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen 4- Sustainable State Herman Daly...
  • 6. 2 SHIFT OF PARADIGM : value given to qualitative aspects 3 SOCIETAL 1 DEGROWTH LOWER PROCESS GROWTH Voluntary simplicity of a few 4 SUSTAINABLE LEVEL
  • 7. Developed countries and “global North” have a high capacity to consume and produce • With the financial capacity • With the time-efficient consumption and production • With the capacity of extraction of natural resources • With infrastructures (transport – industry – storage/ distribution and waste “elimination”) • With unfulfilled needs with common use prevention and planned obsolescence • With advertising and externalisation • With inequities • Positive aspect: social and environmental standards
  • 8. High capacities of consumption of production lead to: • FAILURE OF SOLUTIONS: we could solve many ecological, social, inequity, health... problems!! • CRISIS
  • 9. Rebound effect More fuel Innovations Efficiency efficient cars Efficiency gain Reduced fuel Reduced costs costs We can travel Savings can be Rebound further reallocated
  • 10. Rebound Effects: the case of traffic congestion ex tended una ttra c tive una ttra c tive tra ns po rt s ys tem tra ns po rt s ys tem the high reputation of congestion is seen as a the transport system result of not demand leads to more demand adjusted capacities ex tended, a ttra c tive tra ns po rt s ys tem
  • 11. On-going crisis: Misery = little consumption and production in world of high capacities • Little savings in a large financial economy • No work where workers overwork • Little natural resource access while high extraction • No car in a highway world • No property where everything is owned • ...
  • 12. The recession becomes general - High capacity to produce and consume - Low production and consumption
  • 13. With the general crisis: no way to wait Problem because the society is geared to growth - Develop “debound strategies” - Choose lower “purchasing willpower” - Adjust productive capacity - Solidarity, social measures, reduction of inequities
  • 14. But instead institutions develop: • Rebound strategies • Growth policies INCREASING CAPACITIES TO CONSUME AND PRODUCE!!
  • 15. Rebound strategies Selection of solutions that suppress limits
  • 16. A few words of advertising
  • 17. Rebound Strategy € € € L im its to consumption and production are reached € € € R ebo und s tra teg y developing innovations that € € suppress limits to production and consumption = “productivist innovation” € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € €
  • 18. Growth policies
  • 19. Economic growth • Here understood as “growth of the economy” • Economism: mixing of welfare and level of production and consumption (makes us forget other tracks)
  • 20. Growth policies = increasing: • Liquidity, capital flow, export policies • Working hours, later retirement, overwork, sunday/night work, suppress speed limits, longer opening hours... • New mining areas, new resources, subsidies to extraction, reduced prices of natural resources... • More roads, airport, industry, internet, urbanisation... • Barriers to mutualisation, less property free... • Deregulation of input/throughput/output standards • Advertising, rebound unawareness, externalising… • Fiscal paradises, bank secrets ... Growth is not “magic”: we take from someone
  • 21. Growth policy L im its to consumption and € € € production are reached € € € G ro w th polic y relax collective limits to production and consumption € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € €
  • 22. Debound strategies: frugal innovation (innovations that include limits) Lifestyle innovation Societal innovation
  • 23. Degrowth vision • Urban Degrowth, more preserved spaces • Less water use, more rain collection • Waste and incineration degrowth, more recycling and reuse • Degrowth of living spaces per person, less washing machines, less computers and sharing them • Transport degrowth: less cars, trucks, planes, roads and airports, more bikes and public transport • Speed and distance reduction, localisation and less hurry • More face to face, less “screen to screen” • From supermarkets to relocalised production and consumption • Lower natality rates • Tourism degrowth, local and slow travel • Agro-industry degrowth, less GMOs, pesticides and herbicides • Less animal products, more organic/ ploughing free agriculture • De-growth of energy use with less fossil energy and nuclear, more renewables • Reducing bulldozers, explosives and other extractors • Access to usage, eco-tax on “mis-usage” • Less advertising
  • 24. Degrowth policies: Adjustment Degrowth of « purchasing willpower » and Degrowth of muldimensional capacity to consume and produce in accordance with personal and collective, ecological and social actions
  • 25. ACTION ON LIMITING FACTORS Degrowth policies = reducing collective capacity to produce and consume • Collective reduction of purchasing power on natural resources (should include redistribution) • Speed limits reduction, non economic / convivial encounters, sharing work, self production • Reducing extractive tools, lower input parameters... • Less infrastructures to produce and consume, less roads, reduced capacity, less airports, less industrial production, local level • Institutionalisation of common goods... • Limits to advertising, participative information, reduced externalisation... • Reduction of inequalities • Better quality, social, environmental standards
  • 27. Degrowth movement
  • 28. Short History of french Degrowth Movement Writings from Georgescu-Roegen, Partant, Ellul, Illich, Latouche... Books and press Conferences: Unesco 2002, Lyon town-hall 2003, Montbrison 2005, international conference Paris 2008 Marches Debates in civil society and political parties Networks
  • 29. Some french books on Degrowth
  • 30. A March for Degrowth
  • 31. Proceedings available at
  • 32. Who supports de-growth? • Groups, collectives, networks who clearly support de-growth • Convergence of themes and associations • Minorities in political parties, political mouvements and Unions • General citizens
  • 33. ... WWW.DEGROWTH.NET