On these pages you can find my publications and talks on sustainability, degrowth, ecological economics, corporate responsibility, systems theory and organizational change within the next society. I also started a science blog in which I will post ideas, thoughts and notes from the field of sustainability science, research and education. Particularly I am interested in research collaborations and new ideas for sustainability research and practice. Enjoy and feel free to contact me!
tl;dr: If you have a proper formal model, you can sketch a future for companies that enables them to create a convivial society beyond growth. (This is an extended summary of a scientific paper to be published in a special issue on organizing for the postgrowth economy in »ephemera: theory and politics in organizations«) When you reflect about the future, especially if you want to go beyond coffeehouse level reasoning, some conceptual framework is necessary that can tolerate the future. Such a framework is given with the »Laws of Form« by British mathematician George Spencer Brown and its system-theoretical application by German sociologist Dirk Baecker. The »Laws of Form« are dealing with one question: how to inquire into anything? They are also giving the answer right away: through drawing a difference, through distinguishing the world in different parts, and the naming of these differences. The world is everything that is the […]
tl;dr: Sustainability is a social phenomenon of political, economic and ethical struggles to change social practices towards more ecological and societal equity with care. Why on Earth another scholarly book, an introduction even, on Sustainability? Because most introductions focus on a list of definitions, principles, and cases for Sustainability and sustainable development. They present a panopticum of »everything sustainable« but lack the focus on its social and political nature. This is often reserved for more advanced texts but we – Thomas Pfister, Martin Schweighofer, and I – were deeply convinced that you have to introduce Sustainability as essentially political and thus essentially contested. We also have chosen to follow Andy Stirling to capitalize Sustainability in order to distinguish it from more common say uses like »sustainable finance« and the likes. Sustainability needs to be thought of as embedded in different social practices, for example, practices of writing academic papers, newspaper […]
tl;dr: Degrowth is just one postgrowth approach, not the postgrowth approach. Since Serge Latouche in 2004 threw in »décroissance« as a missile word into the sustainability debates, growth criticism regained its 1970s strength while connecting strongly to issues of social justice and equality, emancipation and democratic renewal, as well as a critique of capitalism. Degrowth, the English translation of the term, has then occupied the center stage in this newly emerging discourse. In Germany, the term »Postwachstumsökonomie« (postgrowth economy) has been introduced by Niko Paech in 2006. Before 2009, the terms »postgrowth« or »post-growth« have not been used in English for describing something related to the economy. It was in an HBR article by James Spaeth in which postgrowth became an economic issue: Soon, developed countries will begin the move to a postgrowth world where working life, the natural environment, communities, and the public sector will no longer be sacrificed for the sake of mere GDP growth, and where the […]
The climate deal in Paris might not save the planet from human-made climate change as it falls short on questioning the expansionist logic of the growth economy but it is nevertheless a surprising achievement of a global climate change discourse that defies all divisions and crises we currently witness. It is a sign of hope but the true discussion of how to achieve the 1.5C target is now on. The Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (its full name) was welcomed by the Economist with the headline »History is here«. George Monbiot, surely not a globale climate talk appeaser, opened his follow-up article in the Guardian with the words »By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle.« Only to harden the stance by further arguing that by »comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.« So what has happened in Paris and what […]