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.
In December 2012 we formally launched the Project with a Panel debate with the Green European Foundation called Beyond Growth and De-growth. The Panel included Tim Jackson of the Green House Advisory Group, Molly Scott Cato from Green House, Aurelie Marechal advisor to the Green MEP Philippe Lamberts, and Dr Hermann Ott, a Green member of the German Parliament. You can find a fuller account of the meeting on the Green European Foundation website here. A video of the event is available here while the launch of Green House's latest paper, Joined up Economics, which also took place at the event, is here.
A short report introducing the project can be found at Green House Post-Growth Project (pdf, 661 K)
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Have a look at the website whygreeneconomy.org launched in May 2013 as a space to discuss how to tackle the world's interconnected economic and environmental crises. There are over 70 summaries of research, comment articles and videos which can be searched by subject areas such as green growth, natural capital and renewable energy.