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Contributors: Fioramonti, Lorenzo, Prof. Dr. (Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation)


Lorenzo Fioramonti ( is Professor of Political Economy and director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria. He’s the author of Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World’s Most Powerful Number (Zed Books 2013).

Scientific paper contribution 1: Accountability, Democracy, and Post-growth: Civil Society Rethinking Political Economy and Finance.
Abstract: Since the fall of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, the economic downturn has taken a heavy tool on many countries, while the spotlight is on the role of political elites and financial actors. The actual and potential role of civil society is hardly mentioned in public debate. Yet, it is within civil society than an alternative paradigm and a fundamental rethinking of conventional wisdom may be fostered. In this session we present three ways to frame the crisis and the role of civil society: reinforcing public accountability, regaining democracy and building resilience. The ultimate goal of this analytical exercise is to investigate the potentially transformative role of civil society in a sector in which it has traditionally been less proactive, in order to reflect on possible forms of social change.
Keywords: Economic crisis, civil society, social change, accountability, degrowth This paper is part of the Special Session: Citizens vs Markets: How Civil Society is Rethinking the Economy in a Time of Crises

Scientific paper contribution 2: Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World's Most Powerful Number
Abstract: The history of GDP is that of the quest for power that continues to affect our political life nowadays. It was initially employed as 'war machine' in the Second World War and then used as a propaganda device during the bipolar rivalry between capitalism and the Soviet empire. At the political level, the power of GDP has impoverished democracy by glorifying the role of technocrats and business, turning politics into a matter for experts. This paper recounts the history of GDP to show its intimate connection with the power struggle of the 20th century.
Keywords: GDP; power; war; markets; economists; globalization. This paper is part of the Special Session "Degrowth and History. Economics, Sustainability, Power"