Fwd: Reflections on 'Beyond Growth' | Frankly #31

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Jean Boucher

May 20, 2023, 8:39:19 AMMay 20
to SCORAI Group
May be of interest - I think Nate does a nice job on the degrowth critique while adding: but 'it's the only game in town.' -   JB

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Nate Hagens from The Great Simplification <nateh...@substack.com>
Date: Fri, May 19, 2023 at 3:11 PM
Subject: Reflections on 'Beyond Growth' | Frankly #31
To: <JLB...@gmail.com>

This past week I’ve been listening to many talks from the Beyond Growth Conference, hosted by the European Union, including one from the EU President with the stunning public acknowledgement that a growth model based on fossil fuels is now obsolete. Many former podcast guests and close colleagues of mine are in attendance at this event:  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
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This past week I’ve been listening to many talks from the Beyond Growth Conference, hosted by the European Union, including one from the EU President with the stunning public acknowledgement that a growth model based on fossil fuels is now obsolete. Many former podcast guests and close colleagues of mine are in attendance at this event: Vandana Shiva, Giorgos Kallis, Timothee Parrique, Olivia Lazard, and Simon Michaux. These people all share with me the same larger life purpose towards creating a society more in tune with the natural world - something not based on the endless growth of material wealth. In the context of this growing conversation around growth, today, I wanted to unpack what I think the degrowth movement is getting right, but also what is missing from this important conversation. Is it possible to purposely navigate from our current system to one with lower energy and material wealth? How does a large and growing global debt overhang impact this possibility? Is a transfer of wealth between nations feasible or even desirable based on realistic outcomes? My analysis suggests degrowth is what we should do, but post-growth is what we’re going to have to do.  In any case, the stakeholders in the degrowth conversation need to be expanded. It’s now the primary movement mapping out what a desirable destination might look like as we move through a Great Simplification.

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Martin Calisto Friant

May 22, 2023, 6:38:38 AMMay 22
to Jean Boucher, SCORAI Group
Thanks for sharing, 
I must say I wasn't convinced by the degrowth critique made by Nate Hagens in that episode. In fact, he just said that degrowth lacked reflection on some systemic matters related to finance and general economic systems dynamics but then didn't explore what they were. Degrowth svolarship is actually based on a strong critique of both the current financial system a and deep reflection on socio-ecological systems dynamics so I am afraid his general points of criticism might be based on a lack of understanding of the degrowth literature.

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Jean Boucher

May 22, 2023, 7:49:29 AMMay 22
to Martin Calisto Friant, SCORAI Group
Thanks, Martin, and happy to keep the conversation going. 

Nate did have Timothee Parrique as a guest once. Do you mind if I forward your comments to Nate?

I've not been keeping up with the latest degrowth literature - is there something key on finance maybe?



Rees, William E.

May 22, 2023, 11:37:49 AMMay 22
to Martin Calisto Friant, SCORAI Group, jlb...@gmail.com

If anyone still needs a rationale for planned degrowth, I think, as an evolutionary ecologist, that the following captures the organic causes and material essence of the human eco-predicament: 



From: sco...@googlegroups.com <sco...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Jean Boucher <jlb...@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2023 4:49:15 AM
To: Martin Calisto Friant; SCORAI Group
Subject: Re: [SCORAI] Fwd: Reflections on 'Beyond Growth' | Frankly #31
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Martin Calisto Friant

May 23, 2023, 4:45:35 AMMay 23
to Rees, William E., SCORAI Group, Jean Boucher
Hi Jean and Bill,
I'm happy for you to share my thoughts with Nate. I remember his excellent episode with Timothée, where I even though he might became a degrowther by the end. So I still don't get why he doesn't join the movement. In any case, I would love to discuss this with Nate, perhaps he could do an episode on exactly why he doesn't a embrace degrowth (ideally as a debate with key degrowth thinkers).

I can't point to a single piece on degrowth and finance that I can recommend. I would rather point to the latest books on degrowth like the Future is Degrowth by Schmelzer, Vetter and Vasintjan and Exploring Degrowth by Liegey and Nelson, and Less is More by Hickel as these are complex topics that require a systemic transformation beyond capitalist financial and monetary systems. The Beyond Growth Conference at the EU also had an excellent plenary and various panel sessions on the topic of finance and fiscal policies (which you can rewatch online here https://www.beyond-growth-2023.eu/). 

The article shared by Bill does a marvelous job of resuming our current civilizational challenges. However, it doesn't propose a way forward for human and planetary well-being. This is precesely what degrowth literature is about. Proposing a viable and feasible alternative to the capitalist, anthropocentric, patriarchal and growth dependent civilisation that is leading us down the cliff. 
I think Nate is also brilliant at explaining the manyfold crises we face in his podcast, but that isn't enough. We can't we just say it will all end and just dig up bunkers hopping for the richest and wealthiest to perhaps survive in their dooms-day islands and undergrounds. That fortress mentality is not conductive to cooperation, fairness and democratic political action against the minority that is impeding societal transformation. And it's not like we don't have a wide diversity of alternative approches and ideas to chose from to create contextual, culturally adapted and trully sustainable degrowth alternatives anywhere on earth. If we are not able to transform capitalism now, we may still be able to democratically organize and change power structures and ways of being as capitalism starts to collapse due to the weight of its own socio-ecological contradictions. To prepare for that, we must organize now and form our students and communities for action and tranformation. Otherwise we will be doomed as we witness the ruling elite squabble for resources in whatever is left our our planet while the 99% is literally left to starve. 
I recently wrote a small opinion piece on 4 possible futures for humanity based on sustainability and circularity literate that shows the main differences between a fortress mentality and a more transformative vision of socio-ecological change: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.circularconversations.com/editorials/2022/11/22/exploring-four-visions-of-a-circular-future-from-technocentric-circular-economy-to-transformational-circular-society%3fformat=amp


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