Degrowth in the global South? – workshop

Julien-François Gerber

Tuesday 25th June, 15.00 – 17.00, ICTA-UAB

Ecological economists have had relatively little to say about ‘beyond growth’ approaches in the global South. Most of them simply do not believe that such approaches apply there. Are they right? There seems to be a general agreement that national metabolisms should be downsized and stabilized only after a certain level of ‘development’. This workshop will tackle the difficult issues of ‘degrowth’ in the ‘global South’. Is the concept relevant there? If no, why? If yes, how? The workshop will start by reviewing what has been written on ‘post-growth’ in the global South from different perspective (i.e. ‘mainstream EE’, ‘degrowth EE’, eco-socialism, etc.). The workshop will then try to clarify the key concepts that are typically used in such discussions (e.g. ‘post-growth’, ‘global South/North’, ‘development’, etc.). A number of ways of envisioning growth-critical approaches in the global South will then be exposed and offered for the discussion. Special reference will be made to examples taken from South Asia (particularly India and Bhutan). Based on their own readings and experience, participants will be encouraged to share their views – whether they find the arguments convincing, vague or unpersuasive. In order to stimulate discussions, they will be asked to put different hats, the hat of a working poor, of a politician in a developing country, and the hat of an honest mainstream economist. The workshop will end with an agenda for future research in this exciting emerging field.


Brief description of the method

This will be a discussion workshop where the teacher introduces the topic and then facilitates the discussions with the group of participants (40% teacher’s talk, 60% discussion).

Compulsory readings:

Gerber, JF & RS Raina (2018) Introduction. In: JF Gerber & RS Raina (eds), Post-Growth Thinking in India. Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan.