Contributors: Leonardi, Emanuele (University of Bergamo)
Emanuele Leonardi, University of Bergamo
Scientific paper contribution: Degrowth and the Critique of Political Economy
Abstract: The paper aims at constructively criticize Degrowth's reliance on the physical limits to growth as a discursive tool to undermine the growth-oriented attitude of mainstream economics. By recuperating the critique of political economy, the paper investigates the shift in the value/nature relationship which has occurred since the environmental crisis has emerged as a political problem. Originally perceived as a crisis of capitalism (the industry-caused crossing of the immutable threshold represented by the physical limits of the planet), ecological deterioration ended up being considered as a crisis for capitalism, as yet another plug in the astonishing mosaic of creative destruction. This apparently perfect translation of the environment into the homogeneous grammar of money is the main character of the green economy. The basic argument of the paper is that once physical limits have been reconfigured as drivers for growth, a political strategy which relies too strongly on them will prove strategically disempowered.