Political Economy of Degrowth

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* PhD Thesis: Timothée Parrique. The political economy of degrowth. Economics and Finance. Université Clermont Auvergne; Stockholms universitet, 2019.

URL = https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-02499463/document


"What is degrowth and what are its implications for political economy? Divided in three parts, this dissertation explores the why, what, and how of degrowth.

The first part (Of growth and limits) studies the nature, causes, and consequences of economic growth. Chapter 1: Understanding economic growth answers a series of questions about the nature of economic growth: What is it exactly that grows? By how much does it grow? When and where does it grow? How does it grow? And why should it grow? The three following chapters develop a triple objection to economic growth as no longer possible (Chapter 2: Biophysical limits to growth), plausible (Chapter 3: Socioeconomic limits to growth), and desirable (Chapter 4: Social limits of growth).

The second part (Elements of degrowth) is about the idea of degrowth, especially its history, theoretical foundations, and controversies. Chapter 5: Origins and definitions traces the history of the concept from 1968 to 2018. Chapter 6: Theoretical foundations presents a normative theory of degrowth as de-economisation, that is a reduction in importance of economic thoughts and practices. Chapter 7: Controversies reviews the attacks the concept has received. Whereas the first part diagnosed economic growth as the problem, this part offers a solution. The takehome message is that degrowth is not only a critique but also a fully-fledged alternative to the growth society.

The third part (Recipes for degrowth) is about the transition from a growth economy to a degrowth society. It opens with an inventory of the policies that have been mobilised by degrowthers until today (Chapter 8: Strategies for change). The three following chapters on property (Chapter 9: Transforming property), work (Chapter 10: Transforming work), and money (Chapter 11: Transforming money) go from theory to practice and translate the values and principles of degrowth into operational transition strategies. Chapter 12: Transition strategy presents a method to study the interactions between degrowth policies in order to craft effective transition strategies. The central claim of this final part is that degrowth is a powerful conceptual tool to think about societal transformations for social-ecological justice. "


Part I: Of growth and limits

  • Chapter 1: Understanding economic growth 46
  • Chapter 2: Biophysical limits to growth 77
  • Chapter 3: Socioeconomic limits to growth 121
  • Chapter 4: Social limits of growth 139

Part II: Elements of degrowth

  • Chapter 5: Origins and definitions 171
  • Chapter 6: Theoretical foundations 235
  • Chapter 7: Controversies 319

Part III: Recipes for degrowth

  • Chapter 8: Strategies for change 476
  • Chapter 9: Transforming property 509
  • Chapter 10: Transforming work 566
  • Chapter 11: Transforming money 631
  • Chapter 12: Transition strategy 666