Contributors: Kerschner, Christian, Dr. (Masaryk University, Czech Republic / R&D)
Christian’s main research interests are economic vulnerabilities to Peak Oil, attitudes toward technology and alternatives to the economic growth paradigm. His 2010 article (SSE vs. Degrowth) has been cited widely. He currently holds a post-doc position at Masaryk University in Brno, CZ.
Scientific paper contribution 1: The relevance of the phenomenon of Peak-Oil for the Degrowth paradigm
Abstract: This paper is part of an effort to compile a vocabulary for Degrowth. Such a collection of concepts for the paradigm is important for the creation of a common language and knowledge base. This article is the first one, which tries to offer a universal definition of resource peaks and explains de main basics behind such phenomena. Peak-Oil is one of the most central elements in the biophysical arguments against the possibilities of future economic growth. After crossing the peak oil (and other resource peaks) the physical expansion of the economy is no longer possible and a managed socially sustainable decent has to be designed, even if complex and difficult.
Scientific paper contribution 2: Attitudes towards technology: dominant technological optimism and challenges for the degrowth alternative.
The paper is co-authored by Melf-Hinrich Ehlers
Abstract: The way our society sees and relates itself to technology is crucial for the debate on economic degrowth. Latouche and others have recognized this and propose, a highly critical if not pessimist attitude. A position which goes back to Georgescu-Roegen but more importantly to Ivan Illich and those authors which describe technological systems as autonomous social systems; most prominently Jaques Ellul. This is a radical and indeed welcome deviation from the dominant paradigm of unquestioned technological optimism, which has traditionally been propagated by the economics discipline from early classical writers until today’s neoclassical orthodoxy. The radical call for a selective moratoria on new technologies at the 2010 Barcelona degrowth conference, illustrates well this deviation in the general degrowth community. However, in this paper we argue that in the absence of critical self-reflection, the community may easily find itself having replaced the dominant “techno-optimist” – dogma, with a “techno-pessimist dogma”. To paraphrase Latouche, what is needed, for a sustainable future without economic growth, is a decolonization of our imaginaries about technology.