Contributors: Spangenberg, Joachim H., Dr. (UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environment Research)
Joachim H. Spangenberg ist Biologe, Ökologe und Volkswirt, seit 2004 beim hauptamtlich, ehrenamtlich Sprecher des BUND AK Wirtschafts- und Finanzpolitik. Informationen zur Person sowie Publikationen sind auf der Seite http://seri.academia.edu/JoachimHSpangenberg verfügbar.
Scientific paper contribution 1: Economic versus ecological world view – ontologies as reality blinder
Abstract: The standard economists’ worldview comprises an ontology according to which the environment is as part of the economic system, implying a distinction between useful and not useful nature (as today frequently in ecosystem service discussions), an anthropology of selfish individuals and an axiology of utilitarism. This worldview determines the “solutions” developed: no limitation to growth but trust in technology and substitutability, internalising cost to correct market failures instead of recognising market system failures, efficiency instead of sufficiency, decoupling instead of capping. Without challenging the worldview the dedication to growth will not be overcome. This is the situation when a “paradigm shift” (Kuhn) seems to be in the making – however, so far a coherent alternative, a conceptual and theoretical base for degrowth philosophies and strategies, is only slowly emerging. Accelerating this process is a necessary condition for cultural hegemony and thus for sufficient political impact to reverse the current development trajectory.
Scientific paper contribution 2: Degrowth, the financial system and the pension system
Abstract: It has been argued that degrowth would lead to a catastrophic economic collapse triggered by a collapse of stock exchange values. However, this analysis rests on several flawed assumptions: (i) an outdated view on stock market mechanisms and values (ii) the assumption that the stock market mechanisms would remain unchanged in a degrowth economy (iii) unchanged expectations of benefits from the stock market and (iv) a misperception of economic processes e.g. under a resource capping approach caused by the theory of economic agents. While (i) and (ii) call for a new realism in analysing stock market processes, (iv) is a deficit of macroeconomic theory leading to the expectation of collapse as a result of oversimplification. (iii) points to a serious problem any degrowing society has to solve: the distribution of income between labour, capital and public institutions / the state, including social security and pension systems.