Can we continue with an “economy of growth”? – And if not, what are the implications?
This was the theme of a two-days conference held in Vienna from 26th – 27th November 2010 which brought together some of Europe’s specialists in economics and social research. The conference was organised by PLENUM Gmbh (a consulting agency for holistic sustainable development) and ESD (European Association for the Promotion of Sustainable Development)
In a “peak everything era” (Ref; Richard HEINBERG) with an increasing scarcity in many respects, what type of guiding v i s i o n is necessary to bring about the necessary changes in social and institutional arrangements?
The answer begins with a change of sight towards a more holistic vision of “global diversity within global unity”.
To replace a “prosperity model based on GDP-growth” (including the demand for growth of consumption and growing exploitation of resources) Key-note-speaker Niko PAECH, a well-known German economist, outlined the scheme of a “post-growth economy” whose main principles are:
- Sufficiency: “less goods and more quality of life” (that means a change of our consumption and production patterns in general)
- Regionalisation: Empowering local and regional economies (that means foremost reducing the length of supply chains and the use of harmful chemicals; as well as conveying intelligent communal cooperation such as ‚pioneer transition towns‘, ‘promotion of self help-projects with a revival of craftsmanship of all kinds’ etc.)
- “Zero-Sum-Games with regard to resource-input and energy-balanced products and services.
- Institutional Innovations esp. with regard to individually tradable CO2-packages, currency-reform and new ways towards soil-reforms.