High-level EU conference on post-growth economics. Is the wind shifting?

I have come across this conference, that seems too good to be true. Almost like in science fiction! It is a conference about post-growth economics, and that’s already interesting. But, on top of that, it’s very high-level.

  • Organized by all groups in Parliament, spearheaded by a well-respected Green MEP
  • All three presidents (Parliament, Commission and Council) as speakers.
  • Both VPs of the Commission, plus the Commissioners with the economy and environment portfolios.
  • Non-neoclassical economists in the intellectual lead (Jason Hickel, Tim Parrique, Giorgos Kallis, New Economic Foundation), and some progressive, but still mostly neoclassical, ones (Stiglitz, Raworth).

I am not quite sure what is happening in the EU (it could be all talk), but I would be eager to find out. Hell, I’d love to volunteer, if someone is doing this kind of work.

Anyone else is going?


Hi, Alberto! Looks quite interesting! It is not 100% clear what the conference title means. It may be “de-growth”, or it may be that they are looking at sustainability without trying to only focus on economic growth, which is an impediment to thinking creatively about sustainability. Personally, I think “de-growth” is putting the cart before the horse — we need robust realistic numbers for the entire “economy”, which includes the environment as well as human economic activity; only once this is done can we seriously consider adjustments and technologies that would lead to a reduction in human harm to the environment. Such adjustment may well lead to MORE growth, but in a significantly different sustainable direction. Please keep us informed on the contents of discussions to the extent possible!

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Oh, it’s definitely the latter. They never say “degrowth” (Hickel and Kallis will, though). They are saying “post-growth”, which I interpret as growth-agnosticism. By the way, this Raworth’s own position: we are neither for nor against growth per se. If growth makes humans better off, let us grow. If not, let us not. Hickel himself specifies that degrowth means global degrowth, but that there are quite some countries that, in the name of fairness, should still grow. It’s mostly the global North that should degrow.

However, post-growth is still different from “green growth”, which is the mainstream concept. The EU distancing itself from green growth would be big news! (But talk is cheap, as we know)

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