Thinking degrowth from the global South – Alberto Acosta (economist and politician, Ecuador)
Wednesday 8th July, 10.00-13.30, UAB Campus
Imagining an economy beyond growth is one of the great challenges of our times, to prevent a social and environmental debacle which could threaten humanity itself. There is a correspondence between debates on degrowth in the global north and postextractivism in the global south, as the sustainability limits of the planet are being reached. Nonetheless, the issue of inequality cannot be ignored in these debates. In the global South, growth must be differentiated into “good and bad growth”, as Manfred Max Neef states, taking into account real social needs. The global South must seek sustainable life options that are not a mere caricaturesque copy of western/northern lifestyle. As important steps in this direction, Nature must be de-commodified and economy subordinated to ecology. Economy must be rethought giving back to production its material significance and breaking with the epistemology of mere value. Extractivism follows the logic of growth which is part of the “genetic code” of today’s economic system, programmed to grow or die, as Enrique Leff says. It is not only promoted by neoliberal political forces in Latin America, but also by progressive governments.
Background reading material: Acosta, Alberto. 2013. Extractivism and Neoextractivism: Two Sides of the Same Curse. In: Beyond Development Alternative visions from Latin America, M. Lang and D. Mokrani eds., pp.61-86, Amsterdam: Rosa Luxembourg Foundation.