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!
Degrowth is a conservative perspective on humanity’s future and thus always runs into serious acceptance problems when dealing with progressive proposals of “limitless” developments. What is needed is a reframing of these proposals as conservative and limiting our future while degrowth is presented as a “new progressivism”. If you are an optimist regarding your life, technological opportunities and the general scheme of things, degrowth is hardly an attractive political-economical idea – less a philosophy you’d like to call your own. And if you are a pessimist and distrust the willingness of people to change fundamental habits without an imminent and/or violent crisis, chances are that you might have sympathies for some degrowth ideas but cannot believe in them unfolding in reality. Degrowth, understood as a transformation towards an ecological sustainable and socially just society that is not based on economic expansion anymore, from the perspective of the optimist and the pessimist just doesn’t […]
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 […]