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!
In my module on »Sustainable Development« at Karlshochschule International University I also teach sociological theories dealing with the natural environment. The other day my class and I were discussing »Risk Society« by Ulrich Beck among others. The idea behind it is that the old industrial society – modernity 1.0 – has given way to a different kind of modernity, one in which the production and distribution of risks has taken the place of wealth production and distribution. The risks in the risk society are of a fundamental, all endangering nature: climate change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, nuclear catastrophes, global terrorism and so forth are all emanation from society’s own activities, they are self-inflicted risks with the potential of global harm. In the risk society everyone is at risk, not even wealth can save you from radioactive fallout or hijacked airplanes crashing into the Alps. Beck also portrayed this risk society as […]
When talking about degrowth –the planned transition to a contraction-based, socially just, and ecologically sustainable society– or a postgrowth economy –an economy that is in a dynamic steady state and sustainable in the long-term– issues of macroeconomic policy are becoming shaky and unclear from the classical economics perspective which is still focused on perpetual economic growth. In the wider degrowth/postgrowth movement you have to credit Tim Jackson and Peter A. Victor for probably the most insightful work until now into this subject. But maybe even the economically ‘uninitiated’ can get a quick grasp on what the macroeconomics of degrowth might look like by returning to Marshall’s cross: the old tried and tested supply and demand diagram, where the vertical axis is depicting changes in price levels while the horizontal axis is depicting changes in aggregated output i.e. how much goods and services an economy produces. I start with explaining the characteristics of the supply side […]
The electoral victory of SYRIZA in Greece has fueled imaginations on the European left for a departure of ‘no alternative’ austerity politics. As much as a return of more imaginative politics is desperately needed in order to revitalize European democracy and save it from too much technocratic post-politics, it is rather doubtful if there really is a true alternative from a postgrowth or degrowth perspective. When looking more closely at SYRIZA’s Thessaloniki program many elements can be found that have the name of John Maynard Keynes written all over them: cutting taxes on fuel and property, raising the tax threshold, reintroducing a 13th month pension for low income pensioners, a 3bn EUR employment program sought to create up to 300,000 new jobs, and an increase in the country’s minimum wage. All of these measures are intended to raise the level of consumption and thus kick-starting economic growth. Kick-starting economic growth […]
At the Degrowth 2014 Conference in Leipzig, we were discussing the issue of postgrowth practices in production and consumption, how those are developing within business and consumer contexts and transform each other. Production and consumption appears to coevolve in front of a degrowth, postgrowth or “transitions” reference frame, with emerging concepts like the sharing of products, collaboration for producing and distributing energy and food, subsistence work and subsistence tools in Fabrication Laboratories, the rise of commons-based thinking and so forth. At the same time traditional companies operating within a classical capitalist setting are hijacking these ideas and turn them into business cases, especially within the so-called sharing economy. Capitalizing the results of post-growth practices e.g. copying a social innovation like carsharing might not harm its potential for transforming the economy in both production and consumption. However, there is a thin line between results and foundations and if the very foundations of post-growth practices are […]