OECD economies are facing a prolonged period of little, no or de-growth. Environmentally this is not bad. It is easier to avoid a climate change disaster with less growth. But socially, lack of growth in growth economies can be catastrophic. Unemployment increases and debt accumulates. How can economies without growth become socially sustainable and economically stable?
This is the research question motivating an interdisciplinary group of researchers at ICTA-UAB, which studies the economics and politics of degrowth. This group together with the NGO Research & Degrowth, have edited in 2012 three volumes on degrowth in the prestigious journals Futures, Journal of Cleaner Production (a journal of industrial ecology) and Ecological Economics. The editors are all members of ICTA UAB, senior researchers (Giorgos Kallis, Joan Martinez-Alier, François Schneider) or post-docs or doctoral students (Filka Sekulova, Beatriz Rodriguez-Labajos, Giacomo d’Alisa, Claudio Cattaneo, Christian Kerschner). These volumes contain 30 articles from authors from 21 countries. To a large extent, they are the product of a conference in Barcelona in April 2010 with the title Economic Degrowth for Social Equity and Environment Sustainability, with over 400 participants from 40 different countries . The same group of researchers from ICTA UAB took part recently in Venice in the 3rd International Conference on Economic Degrowth.