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Degrowth and history - Economics, sustainability, power


The theories and structures of growth as well as the idea of a non-growing economy have historical roots, and it is difficult to see how current discussions about their perceived promises and threats can be understood without a sound appreciation of the circumstances, in which they have appeared and evolved. However, in the ongoing degrowth debate, historians and historical questions have so far been strikingly absent. This session is an effort to introduce a historical perspective into the burgeoning research field on degrowth and to open up a new research agenda for ecological, cultural, social and economic history. It seeks to address several key questions: When, how, and why did growth and its connection to national accounting emerge and become hegemonic? What were the underlying social constellations, psychological predispositions, ideological underpinnings, and power dynamics? And how can this background inform our arguments for a non-growing economic system?

Matthias Schmelzer: ‘Expand or die’. The historical foundations of the economic growth paradigm

Iris Borowy: ’Sustainable Development’: The international struggle over wealth, distribution and limits

Lorenzo Fioramonti: Gross domestic problem: The politics behind the world's most powerful number