Everyone agrees that we are in the midst of a massive financial and economic crisis. We have suffered the biggest ‘crash’ since the 30s, and it may get far bigger yet. How ought this ongoing crisis to be understood, and resolved?
On the mainstream view: We have vast government deficits, and stagnant economies. We have a dire need for economic growth – and a deep-set need for austerity, bringing with it massive cuts in public services.
But what if that diagnosis, which reflects mainstream wisdom, is all wrong? What if the crisis that we are currently experiencing is one which casts into doubt the entire edifice of capitalist economics, which sets growth as the primary objective of all policy? What if the fight between those who say that without austerity first there can be no growth and those who say that we must invest and borrow more now in order to resume growth is a false dichotomy - because both sides are assuming ‘growthism’ as an unquestioned dogma?
The aim of the Green House Post-Growth project is to challenge the common-sense that assumes that it is ‘bad news’ when the economy doesn’t grow and to anatomise what it is about the structure of our economic system that means growth must always be prioritised. We need to set out an attractive, attainable vision of what one country would look like, once we deliberately gave up growth-mania – and of how to get there. And we need to find ways of communicating this to people that make sense, and that motivate change.
The starting-points from which the analysis proceeds can be found on the common ground page.
A short report introducing the project can be found at Green House Post-Growth Project (pdf, 661 K).
All of the other reports that have emerged from the project can be found on our Publications pages. Also there is the link for pre-ordering the book bringing together the main findings of the project, which will be published on 22 October.
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On 20 March Green House, in partnership with the Belgian think tank Oikos and the Green European Foundation, will stage a panel debate and public discussion on 'Green Alternatives to Austerity in Europe' at Europe House in London. Speakers from a number of European organisations will talk about the differing challenges being mounted in their countries and regions to the socially and politically discredited neo-liberal economic medicine still being administered to an increasingly unwilling European population. Watch this space for more details and registration information.