Post-Growth Open Letter to EU institutions signed by over 200 scientists: “Europe, It’s Time to End the Growth Dependency”

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Europe, It’s Time to End the Growth Dependency

Translated versions

This week, scientists, politicians, and policy makers are gathering in Brussels for a landmark conference. The aim of this event, organised by Members of the European Parliament from five different political groups, alongside trade unions and NGOs, is to explore possibilities for a ‘post-growth economy’ in Europe.

For the past seven decades, GDP growth has stood as the primary economic objective of European nations. But as our economies have grown, so has our negative impact on the environment. We are now exceeding the safe operating space for humanity on this planet, and there is no sign that economic activity is being decoupled from resource use or pollution at anything like the scale required. Today, solving social problems within European nations does not require more growth. It requires a fairer distribution of the income and wealth that we already have.

Growth is also becoming harder to achieve due to declining productivity gains, market saturation, and ecological degradation. If current trends continue, there may be no growth at all in Europe within a decade. Right now the response is to try to fuel growth by issuing more debt, shredding environmental regulations, extending working hours, and cutting social protections. This aggressive pursuit of growth at all costs divides society, creates economic instability, and undermines democracy.

Those in power have not been willing to engage with these issues, at least not until now. The European Commission’s Beyond GDP project became GDP and Beyond. The official mantra remains growth — redressed as ‘sustainable’, ‘green’, or ‘inclusive’ — but first and foremost, growth. Even the new UN Sustainable Development Goals include the pursuit of economic growth as a policy goal for all countries, despite the fundamental contradiction between growth and sustainability.

 

The good news is that within civil society and academia, a post-growth movement has been emerging. It goes by different names in different places: décroissance, Postwachstum, steady-state or doughnut economics, prosperity without growth, to name a few. Since 2008, regular degrowth conferences have gathered thousands of participants. A new global initiative, the Wellbeing Economies Alliance (or WE-All), is making connections between these movements, while a European research network has been developing new ‘ecological macroeconomic models’. Such work suggests that it’s possible to improve quality of life, restore the living world, reduce inequality, and provide meaningful jobs — all without the need for economic growth, provided we enact policies to overcome our current growth dependence.

Some of the changes that have been proposed include limits on resource use, progressive taxation to stem the tide of rising inequality, and a gradual reduction in working time. Resource use could be curbed by introducing a carbon tax, and the revenue could be returned as a dividend for everyone or used to finance social programs. Introducing both a basic and a maximum income would reduce inequality further, while helping to redistribute care work and reducing the power imbalances that undermine democracy. New technologies could be used to reduce working time and improve quality of life, instead of being used to lay off masses of workers and increase the profits of the privileged few.

Given the risks at stake, it would be irresponsible for politicians and policy makers not to explore possibilities for a post-growth future. The conference happening in Brussels is a promising start, but much stronger commitments are needed. As a group of concerned social and natural scientists representing all Europe, we call on the European Union, its institutions, and member states to:

  1.    Constitute a special commission on Post-Growth Futures in the EU Parliament. This commission should actively debate the future of growth, devise policy alternatives for post-growth futures, and reconsider the pursuit of growth as an overarching policy goal.
  2.    Incorporate alternative indicators into the macroeconomic framework of the EU and its member states. Economic policies should be evaluated in terms of their impact on human wellbeing, resource use, inequality, and the provision of decent work. These indicators should be given higher priority than GDP in decision-making.
  3.    Turn the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) into a Stability and Wellbeing Pact. The SGP is a set of rules aimed at limiting government deficits and national debt. It should be revised to ensure member states meet the basic needs of their citizens, while reducing resource use and waste emissions to a sustainable level.
  4.    Establish a Ministry for Economic Transition in each member state. A new economy that focuses directly on human and ecological wellbeing could offer a much better future than one that is structurally dependent on economic growth.

License: Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

List of signatories

  1. Dr Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor, University of Leeds, UK
  2. Dr Federico Demaria, Researcher, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  3. Dr Giorgos Kallis, Professor, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  4. Dr Kate Raworth, Author of ‘Doughnut Economics’, UK
  5. Dr Tim Jackson, Professor, University of Surrey, UK
  6. Dr Jason Hickel, Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
  7. Dr Lorenzo Fioramonti, Professor, University of Pretoria, South Africa  
  8. Dr Marta Conde, President of Research & Degrowth, Spain
  9. Dr Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK
  10. Dr Steve Keen, Professor, Kingston University, UK
  11. Dr Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, USA
  12. Dr David Graeber, Professor, London School of Economics, UK
  13. Dr Ann Pettifor, Director, Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME), UK
  14. Dr Serge Latouche, Université Paris Sud, France
  15. Dr Kate Pickett, Professor, University of York, UK
  16. Dr Susan George, President of the Transnational Institute-TNI, Netherlands
  17. Dr Joan Martinez Alier, Professor, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Catalonia
  18. Dr Juan Carlos Monedero Fernández, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  19. Dr Dominique Méda, Professor, University Paris Dauphine, France
  20. Dr Lourdes Beneria, Professor Emerita, Cornell University, USA
  21. Dr Inge Røpke, Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark
  22. Dr Niko Paech, Professor, University of Siegen, Germany
  23. Dr Jean Gadrey, Professor, University of Lille, France
  24. Dr Nadia Johanisova, Lecturer, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic  
  25. Dr Wolfgang Sachs, Research Director Emeritus, Wuppertal Institut, Germany
  26. Dr Stefania Barca, Senior Researcher, Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  27. Dr Gilbert Rist, Emeritus Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland
  28. Dr György Pataki, Professor, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
  29. Dr Simone D’Alessandro, Professor, University of Pisa, Italy
  30. Dr Ian Gough, Visiting Professor, London School of Economics, UK
  31. Dr Iñigo Capellán-Pérez, Researcher, University of Valladolid, Spain
  32. Dr Amaia Pérez Orozco, Researcher, Colectiva XXK, Spain
  33. Dr Max Koch, Professor, Lund University, Sweden
  34. Dr Fabrice Flipo, Professor, Institut Mines Télécom-BS et LCSP Paris 7 Diderot, France
  35. Dr Matthias Schmelzer, Researcher, University of Jena and Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, Germany
  36. Dr Óscar Carpintero, Associate Professor, University of Valladolid, Spain
  37. Dr Hubert Buch-Hansen, Associate Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  38. Dr Christos Zografos, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain
  39. Dr Tereza Stöckelová, Associate Professor, Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  40. Dr Alf Hornborg, Professor, Lund University, Sweden
  41. Dr Eric Clark, Professor, Lund University, Sweden
  42. Dr Miklós Antal, Researcher, University of Leeds, UK
  43. Dr Jordi Roca Jusmet, Professor, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
  44. Dr Philippe Defeyt, Chairman, Institute for Sustainable Development, Belgium
  45. Dr Erik Swyngedouw, Professor, University of Manchester, UK
  46. Dr Christian Kerschner, Assistant Professor, Modul University Vienna, Austria
  47. Dr Agata Hummel, Assistant Professor, University of Adam Mickiewicz, Poland
  48. Dr Frank Moulaert, Emeritus Professor, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  49. Dr Frank Adler, Researcher, Brandenburg-Berlin Institute for Social Scientific Research, Germany
  50. Dr Janne I. Hukkinen, Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland
  51. Dr Jorge Riechmann, Professor, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
  52. Samuel Martín-Sosa Rodríguez, Responsable de Internacional, Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
  53. Dr John Barry, Professor, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  54. Dr Linda Nierling, Senior Scientist, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  55. Dr Ines Omann, Senior Researcher, Austrian Foundation for Development Research, Austria
  56. Dr Hug March, Associate Professor, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
  57. Dr Jakub Kronenberg, Associate Professor, University of Lodz, Poland
  58. Yayo Herrero, Miembro del Foro de Transiciones, Spain
  59. Dr Isabelle Anguelovski, Professor, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  60. Dr François Schneider, Researcher, Research & Degrowth, France
  61. Dr Vasilis Kostakis, Senior Researcher, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
  62. Dr Enric Tello, Professor, University of Barcelona, Spain
  63. Dr Andrew Sayer, Professor, Lancaster University, UK
  64. Dr Kate Soper, Emerita Professor, London Metropolitan University, UK
  65. Dr Klaus Hubacek, Professor, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria
  66. Dr Brent Bleys, Assistant Professor, Ghent University, Belgium
  67. Dr Jill Jäger, Independent Scholar, Vienna, Austria
  68. Dr Mauro Gallegati, Professor, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy
  69. Dr Peadar Kirby, Professor Emeritus, University of Limerick, Ireland
  70. Dr Inés Marco, Researcher, University of Barcelona, Spain
  71. Dr Ivan Murray Mas, Assistant Lecturer, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain
  72. Dr Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Assistant Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  73. Dr Aurore Lalucq, Co-Director, Veblen Institute, France
  74. Dr Gaël Plumecocq, Researcher, French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), France
  75. Dr David Soto Fernández, Associate Professor, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain
  76. Dr Christian Kimmich, Researcher, Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic
  77. Dr Giacomo D’Alisa, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  78. Dr Seth Schindler, Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester, UK
  79. Dr Philippe Roman, Researcher, ICHEC Brussels Management School, Belgium
  80. Dr Lorenzo Pellegrini, Associate Professor, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
  81. Dr Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  82. Dr Tommaso Luzzati, Assistant Professor, University of Pisa, Italy
  83. Dr Christoph Gran, ZOE Institute for Future Fit Economies, Germany
  84. Dr Tor A. Benjaminsen, Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  85. Dr Barry McMullin, Professor, Dublin City University, Ireland
  86. Dr Edwin Zaccai, Professor, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  87. Dr Jens Friis Lund, Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  88. Dr Pierre Ozer, Researcher, Université de Liège, Belgium
  89. Dr Louison Cahen-Fourot, Researcher, Institute for Ecological Economics, Wirtschaftsuniversität Vienna, Austria
  90. Dr Tommaso Rondinella, Researcher, Italian National Institute of Statistics, Italy
  91. Dr Julia Steinberger, Associate Professor, University of Leeds, UK
  92. Dr Andrew Fanning, Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of Leeds, UK
  93. Jose Luis Fdez Casadevante Kois, Miembro del Foro Transiciones, Spain
  94. Dr Seema Arora-Jonsson, Professor, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  95. Dr Astrid Agenjo Calderón, Lecturer, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain
  96. Dr Tom Bauler, Professor, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  97. Dr Gregers Andersen, Independent Researcher, Denmark
  98. Dr Peter Söderbaum, Professor Emeritus, Mälardalen University, Sweden
  99. Dr Lourenzo Fernandez Priero, Professor, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  100. Dr John R Porter, Emeritus Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  101. Dr François Thoreau, Senior Researcher, University of Liege, France
  102. Mariagiulia Costanzo Talarico, Researcher, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain
  103. Dr Maria Nikolaidi, Senior Lecturer, University of Greenwich, UK
  104. Dr Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Lecturer, Lund University, Sweden
  105. Dr Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen, Assistant Professor, University of Roskilde, Denmark
  106. Dimitar Sabev, Researcher, University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria
  107. Dr Mladen Domazet, Research Director, Institute for Political Ecology, Croatia
  108. Dr Hans Diefenbacher, Professor, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  109. Dr Marco Armiero, Director of the Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  110. Dr Irene Ring, Professor, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  111. Dr Christine Bauhardt, Professor, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
  112. Dr Dominique Bourg, Professor, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  113. Dr Tomas Ryska, Lecturer, University of Economics, Czech Republic
  114. Dr Filka Sekulova, Researcher, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  115. Dr Andrej Lukšič, Associate Professor, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  116. Dr Adrian Smith, Professor, University of Sussex, UK
    Dr Serenella Iovino, Professor, Università di Torino, Italy
  117. Dr Helga Kromp-Kolb, Professor, University of Renewable Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  118. Dr Roberto De Vogli, Associate Professor, University of Padova, Italy
  119. Dr Danijela Dolenec, Assistant Professor, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  120. Dr Alexandra Köves, Senior Lecturer, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
  121. Dr Antoine Bailleux, Professor, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles, Belgium
  122. Dr Christof Mauch, Director, Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society, Germany
  123. Ajda Pistotnik, Independent Researcher, EnaBanda, Slovenia
  124. Dr Branko Ančić, Researcher, Institute for Social Research for Social Research in Zagreb, Croatia
  125. Dr Marija Brajdic Vukovic, Assistant Professor, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  126. Dr Manuel González de Molina, Professor, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain
  127. Dr Kye Askins, Reader, University of Glasgow, UK
  128. Dr Carlos de Castro Carranza, Profesor Titular de Física Aplicada, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain
  129. Dr Annika Pissin, Researcher, Lund University, Sweden
  130. Dr Eva Fraňková, Assistant Professor, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
  131. Dr Helga Kromp-Kolb, Professor, University of Renewable Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  132. Dr Lidija Živčič, Senior Expert, Focus, Association for Sustainable Development, Slovenia
  133. Dr Martin Pogačar, Research Fellow, ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
  134. Dr Peter Nielsen, Associate Professor, Roskilde University, Denmark
  135. Yaryna Khmara, Researcher, University of Lodz, Poland
  136. Dr Ika Darnhofer, Associate Professor, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria
  137. Dr Isabelle Cassiers, Professor, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  138. Dr Mihnea Tanasescu, Researcher, Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium
  139. Dr Daniel Hausknost, Assistant Professor, Institute for Social Change and Sustainability, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
  140. Dr Christoph Görg, Professor, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria
  141. Dr Andreas Novy, Professor, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
  142. Dr Fikret Adaman, Professor, Boğaziçi University, Turkey
  143. Dr Bengi Akbulut, Assistant Professor, Concordia University, Canada
  144. Dr Kevin Maréchal, Professor, Université de Liège, Belgium.
  145. Dr Anke Schaffartzik, Researcher, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  146. Dr Milena Buchs, Associate Professor, University of Leeds, UK
  147. Dr Jean-Louis Aillon, Researcher, University of Genova, Italy
  148. Dr Melanie Pichler, Researcher, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria
  149. Dr Helmut Haberl, Associate Professor, Institute of Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria
  150. Dr Julien-François Gerber, Assistant Professor, International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands
  151. Dr John Holten-Andersen, Associate Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark
  152. Theresa Klostermeyer, Officer for Sustainability and Social Change, German League for Nature, Animal and Environmental Protection, Germany
  153. Dr Lyla Mehta, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, UK
  154. Dr Geneviève Azam, Professor, Université Jean Jaurès, France
  155. Dr Hermann E. Ott, Professor, University of Sustainable Development Eberswalde, Germany
  156. Dr Angelika Zahrnt, Professor, Institute for Ecological Economic Research, Germany
  157. Dr Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, UK
  158. Dr Irmi Seidl, Assistant Professor, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland
  159. Dr Shilpi Srivastava, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, UK
  160. Dr Elgars Felcis, Researcher, University of Latvia, Chairman of Latvian Permaculture Association, Latvia
  161. Dr Tilman Santarius, Professor, Technische Universität Berlin and Einstein Center Digital Futures, Germany
  162. Nina Treu, Coordinator of Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, Germany
  163. Dr Laura Horn, Associate Professor, Roskilde University, Denmark
  164. Jennifer Hinton, Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden
  165. Dr Friedrich Hinterberger, President, Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Austria
  166. Dr Miriam Lang, Assistant Professor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar, Ecuador
  167. Dr Susse Georg, Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark
  168. Dr Silvio Cristiano, Researcher, Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Parthenope’ & Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italy
  169. Dr Petr Jehlička, Senior Lecturer, Open University, UK
  170. Dr Maja Göpel, Professor, Leuphana University, Member Club of Rome, Germany
  171. Dr Geraldine Thiry, Associate Professor, ICHEC Brussels Management School, Belgium
  172. Dr Olivier Malay, Researcher, University of Louvain, Belgium
  173. Dr Richard Lane, Researcher, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  174. Dr Laura Centemeri, Researcher, National Centre for Scientific Research, France
  175. Dr Stephan Lessenich, Professor, Ludwig Maximilians University, Germany
  176. Timothée Parrique, Researcher, Stockholm University, Sweden
  177. Dr Ludivine Damay, Lecturer, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  178. Dr Janis Brizga, Researcher, University of Latvia, Latvia
  179. Dr Claudio Cattaneo, Associate Professor, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  180. Dr Miquel Ortega Cerdà, Advisor, Barcelona City Council
  181. Dr Olivier De Schutter, Professor, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium  
  182. Dr Annalisa Colombino, Assistant Professor, Institute of Geography and Regional Sciences, University of Graz, Austria
  183. Dr Philip von Brockdorff, Head of the Department of Economics, University of Malta, Malta
  184. Dr Sarah Cornell, Senior Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden
  185. Dr Ruth Kinna, Professor of Political Theory, Loughborough University, UK
  186. Francesco Gonella, Professor, Department of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italy
  187. Orsolya Lazanyi, Researcher, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
  188. Dr Eva Friman, Director at Swedesd, Uppsala University, Sweden
  189. Dr Pernilla Hagbert, Researcher, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  190. Vincent Liegey, Co-Author of “A Degrowth Project”, Hungary
  191. Dr Manlio Iofrida, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Communication, University of Bologna, Italy
  192. Dr Mauro Bonaiuti, Lecturer, University of Turin, Italy
  193. Dr Marco Deriu, Researcher, University of Parma, Italy
  194. Dr Eeva Houtbeckers, Postdoctoral Researcher, Aalto University, Finland
  195. Dr Guy Julier, Professor, Aalto University, Finland
  196. Dr Anna Kaijser, Lecturer, Linköping University, Sweden
  197. Dr Petter Næss, Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  198. Dr Irina Velicu, Researcher, Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  199. Dr Ulrich Brand, Professor, University of Vienna, Austria
  200. Dr Christina Plank, Researcher, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria
  201. Dr Karolina Isaksson, Senior Research Leader, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Sweden
  202. Dr Jin Xue, Associate Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  203. Dr Rasmus Steffansen, Researcher, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  204. Dr Irmak Ertör, Researcher, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
  205. Dr Maria Hadjimichael, Researcher, Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cyprus, Cyprus
  206. Dr Carlo Aall, Researcher in Societal Transformation and Climate Change, Western Norway Research Institute, Norway
  207. Dr Claudiu Craciun, Lecturer, National School of Political Studies and Administration (SNSPA), Romania
  208. Dr Tuuli Hirvilammi, Researcher, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  209. Dr Tuula Helne, Senior Researcher, The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Finland
  210. Davide Biolghini, Researcher, Rete italiana Economia Solidale (RES), Italy
  211. Dr Pasi Heikkurinen, Lecturer, University of Leeds, UK
  212. Dr Anne Tittor, Researcher, Junior Research Group Bioeconomy & Inequalities, University of Jena, Germany
  213. Dr Dennis Eversberg, Researcher, DFG Research Group on Postgrowth Societies, University of Jena, Germany
  214. Dr Herman Stål, Lecturer, Umea School of Business, Economics and Statistics, Sweden
  215. Dr Hervé Corvellec, Professor, Lund University, Sweden
  216. Dr Anna Heikkinen, Researcher, University of Tampere, Finland
  217. Dr Karl Bonnedahl, Researcher, Umea University, Sweden
  218. Dr Meri Koivusalo, Professor, University of Tampere, Finland
  219. Dr Martin Fritz, Researcher in Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany
  220. Dr Daniel Bergquist, Researcher, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  221. Dr Yuri Kazepov, Professor, University of Vienna, Austria
  222. Dr Salvador Pueyo, Researcher, Universitat de Barcelona, Catalonia
  223. Dr Lars Rydén, Professor, Uppsala University, Sweden
  224. Patrick ten Brink, Director of EU Policy, European Environmental Bureau, Belgium
  225. Dr Ebba Lisberg Jensen,  Associate Professor, Malmö University, Sweden
  226. Dr Alevgul H. Sorman, Researcher, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Spain
  227. Dr Aram Ziai, Professor, University of Kassel, Germany
  228. Dr Panos Petridis, Researcher, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria
  229. Dr Gary Dymski, Professor, University of Leeds, UK
  230. Dr Markus Wissen, Professor, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
  231. Dr Wendy Harcourt, Professor, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University, The Netherlands
  232. Dr John Barrett, Professor, University of Leeds, UK
  233. Dr Silke van Dyk, Professor, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany
  234. Dr Vasna Ramasar, Senior Lecturer, Lund University, Sweden
  235. Danijela Tamše, Managing Editor of the Journal for the Critique of Science, Imagination, and New Anthropology, Slovenia
  236. Dr Camil Ungureanu, Associate Professor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
  237. Dr Mirela Holy, Lecturer, VERN’ University of Zagreb, Croatia
  238. Dr Barbara Smetschka, Researcher, Institute of Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, Austria
  239. Dr Nicola Costantino, Professor, Politecnico di Bari, Italy
  240. Dr Jovanka Špirić, Researcher, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  241. Dr Lucia Piani, Researcher, Università degli Studi di Udine, Italy
  242. Dr Drago Župarić-Iljić, Research Associate, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Croatia
  243. Lidija Srnec, Senior adviser, Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service, Croatia

27 Comments

  1. At last an intelligent initiative, but 50 years to late!!I am economist myself (comercial engeneer) 1975-KULeuven(Belgium) and came to that conclusion at that time.But better late than never…You can add me to the list!!Guy Verbakel Gent (Belgium)guy.verbakel@skynet.be

  2. I would like to add my name to this list of subscribers. My name is Prof. dr. Pieter Bergé. I’m a musicologist at the university of Leuven (Belgium), but the subject you are touching is probably my main concern ‘of life’ at this moment. I would be glad to be involved in your initiative in this manner, although I’m not a specialist in economics or politics.

  3. Finally! I’m grateful for this initiative.

    I wonder for a while how it is even possible to deny the link between the classic economic vision on growth (gdp) and planet decay. We need a model that focuses on the natural needs of all people in stead of capital accumulation by the few. We also need an alternative model of education, one that stresses cooperation in stead of concurrence to death. Let’s work for an alternative concept of ‘richness’.
    Remaining questions:
    1. how will we manage political heterogeneity (in Europe and globally)?
    2. how will we convince (especially ‘rich’) people to share?
    3. how will we manage (global) population growth?

    • Global population growth isn’t really that much of an issue. We already produce enough food to feed in excess of 10 billion people, it’s just that currently almost half of it is wasted because feeding the poor is not profitable enough.

  4. Nice effort but still a step back from RFK his University of Kansas speech: Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

  5. I admire this initiative. Let’s hope this is a first important step towards the creation of a new worldview. The future of our (grand) children and our planet will depend on how well we will succeed in the development of this Economic Transition.
    But how should the ones who are holding the real power now (mainly the 1%), be convinced of this? If they don’t come on board, this whole initiative may prove to be ineffective.

  6. An adorable initiative! One that could make the difference in the future. The wellbeing of our (grand) children and our planet may depend on it. It’s time to let go of outdated assumptions which have proven to be unsustainable, and, in time, will have disastrous effects.
    But how do we convince those who are holding the real power positions today (the 1% of this world)? As long as they don’t come on board, any great initiative may end up being ineffective .

  7. Great initiative. I hope the mainstream media will keep it alive with interviews , dossiers, reports etc. And hopefully the public will understand that’s the fight for the future for everyone and show their outrage for the economic excesses and suicidal course today

  8. Once more, an inconvenient evidence. Let’s hope our planet Earth will not do the economic “correction” spontaneously,as by historical trial and error, but human society will be able to control it’s own long term development in a more conscious and well-intentioned way.
    Thank you for this endeavour.

  9. I don’t know it sounds too leftist and blamish on capitalism. Let’s not forget that the phone or computer from which you are reading this news was build on the premise of growth. That’s what we humans do, we grow ! Ok inequality sucks, but there are people better than others at growing and excelling in life because they wake up in the morning and do things not like the other lazy ones. I totally agree that we pollute too much that is true but the sharing wealth thing ? Sounds like we’ll make the same mistakes all over again aka communism

    • The phone and the computer were not initially build on the premise of growth. Some inventions like the phone started out rather as a scientific challenge. Other inventions like mainframe computers and computer networks started out as military projects. Grenelle produced the first digital desktop computer, the Micral, at the behest of the French ministry of agriculture. Steve Wozniak just wanted his own computer, so he build one. Ok, being lazy gets you nowhere but doing things doesn’t guarantee you success either. The issue at stake here is income inequality resulting in wealth inequality afterwards. I wouldn’t dare to call a minimum wage worker lazy. The wage gap is increasing resulting in an economy more and more based on exploitation of people concurrent with the exploitation of nature. This has nothing to do with communism but with setting boundaries. Let’s limit our economies to a sporty competition valuing the qualities of our products and services and not allow it to become a destructive war exclusively focusing on financial gain.

    • Anonymousopinion your comment is full of misconceptions. It is a misconception that those who are successful in our current capitalist society are so because they work hard and that subsequently those who aren’t successful are lazy.
      It’s also a misconception that technological advancement is mainly driven by the premise of growth. For example, almost none of the tech that went into the iPhone was invented by Apple. Most of it was invented by military and academic research etc.

    • Indeed, this guy doesn’t really get it. He states that economic growth is a means to better society while in fact it is a unit of measurement after the fact. A unit with very little relevance, I might add. To give him some credit, he admits it doesn’t or only partially reflect a lot of things. He goes on in stating that “in the past” profit-maximization as a goal has been emphasized a lot. He fails to mention it still is overemphasized. He further states that growth is essential to social prosperity and negative growth isn’t the solution. The goal of the manifesto however is not to promote negative growth, it is to promote a “post-growth”-thinking meaning getting rid of our fixation on growth and GDP. Changing the mindset is the goal. The numerical result in GDP-terms is largely irrelevant. What matters is the result in terms of living standard, well-being, sustainability and equal distribution of it. It requires a shift in priorities and could shift GDP either way. In a way I must conclude this man can’t read very well. Where I went to school it was included in the package, maybe it wasn’t included in his or he simply just forgot. Not all is lost though, I hear some fine remedial courses for adults are given all through the country. He gets a little carried away with his apocalyptic prophecies too. It could lead to less investment in innovative products he states. What a preposterous assumption. It could once again go either way. The purely profit based investments would probably decrease but on the other hand meaningful but possibly less financially profitable project could get a chance this way. Furthermore financial investment has some correlation with innovation but is certainly not the only factor and in some cases can even work counterproductive. Because we live in a world economy (global world economy he says, but that’s a pleonasm), Europe can’t go this way alone anyway, he says. I’m pretty sure the proponents of this manifesto would welcome global support for it but I don’t see why Europe would need permission from other parts of the world to initiate a shift in priorities. It is however entirely possible that some parts of the business community would go to considerable length to prevent that shift from happening. Is he suggesting Europe should capitulate in anticipation of such a hypothetical threat? It might as well be that other parts of the business community, albeit possibly the less dominant part in the economic fabric of our current society, would welcome such a shift recognizing the new opportunities it can bring. And then of course there is possibly the largest part of the business community that doesn’t really ask for a shift in priorities but are prepared to adapt to the change just as they have adapted to other changes. As for the argument we need growth because of increasing population, that only flies in a destructive non-sustainable economy. The whole philosophy of a sustainable economy evolves around the creation of durable wealth, material and other-shaped. It implies an economic system where wealth is created on top of already existing wealth as opposed to wealth creation upon destruction and decay. If we have to build a new world every other day from scratch we better get up early and work our butts of whole day. If on the other hand we shift to a durable economy we will create a new society with foresight and only have to maintain, recycle, upgrade and expand according to the needs of the population with the added benefit of having a meaningful life after work and even whilst working. See it as a car: the GDP represents the outer dimension of the car but it doesn’t tell you anything about the interior space, handling, performance, economy, build quality etc. while in the end what we really want is a car we enjoy driving. Policy shouldn’t be about growth, GDP or any of that stuff, it should be about putting smiles on people’s faces, unless you want to compete in a “Scrooge of the year”-contest of course. As for environmental problems and inequality his answer is: “the government should take care of that”. The purpose of the manifesto however is to encourage people, businesses and governments to move to a mode of conduct of acting with foresight to avoid having to clean up the mess afterwards.

  10. Transition to a post-growth economy is not only a sensible proposal it is also a matter of survival. As some degrowth activists like to assert: ‘décroissance ou barbarie’!
    However, I miss a very important issue in the open letter and petition – that of commodification. The current economic system is not only dependent of (and addicted to) economic growth; it is also based on a globalized market of commodities, which is clearly also a major part of the problem. On this topic I suggest incorporating some of Ivan Illich’s radical critiques of commodification and professionalization of modern western societies – see e.g. ‘The right to useful unemployment’ 1978 (included in the anthology ‘Toward a history of needs’). Illich’s ideas were a source of inspiration for the degrowth movement.
    Á. Fonseca
    (Lisboa, Portugal)

    • On top of that money has become a commodity itself and even more alarmingly a predominant commodity. The intrinsic value of a good or a service isn’t valued at all anymore.

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