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D'Alisa G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Cattaneo C.,Research and Degrowth
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2013

The present work contributes to bringing visibility to the part of social work that is referred to as unpaid work. This part of social work remains outside the market, but it is necessary to structure and maintain households, human relationships and communities and providing sustenance and care. It represents a flow of hidden subsidies to the economy mostly shaped, structured and experienced by women. Through an explorative case study in Catalonia, we relate the use of time in Catalan society with the relative consumption of energy. This research strategy allows us to see the dangers of substituting labour and skills from household-based production to the commodity-based economy in terms of an increase in energy demand in a context of the end of cheap oil. On the contrary, from a degrowth perspective we argue that the future adaptability might require policies reallocating resources towards the unpaid and the community. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Hantson S.,University of Alcala | Hantson S.,Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | Pueyo S.,University of Barcelona | Pueyo S.,Research and Degrowth | Chuvieco E.,University of Alcala
International Journal of Wildland Fire | Year: 2016

Wildland fires are one of the main alleged examples of Self-Organised Criticality (SOC), with simple SOC models resulting in the expectation of a power-law fire size frequency distribution. Here, we test whether fire size distributions systematically follow a power law and analyse their spatial variation for eight distinct areas over the globe. For each of the areas, we examine the fire size frequency distribution using two types of plots, maximum likelihood estimation and chi-square tests. Log-normal emerges as a suitable option to fit the fire size distribution in this variety of environments. In only two of eight areas was the power law (which is a particular case of the log-normal) not rejected. Notably, the two parameters of log-normal are related to each other, displaying a general linear relation, which extends to the sites that can be described with a power law. These results do not necessarily refute the SOC hypothesis, but reveal the presence of other processes that are, at least, modulating the outcome of SOC in some areas. © IAWF 2016.

Dittmer K.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Dittmer K.,Research and Degrowth
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2013

This article provides a quality check of the degrowth movement's proposal of local currencies as tools for advancing socially equitable and ecologically sustainable degrowth. The article draws comprehensively upon mainly English-language academic research about four widespread local currency types - LETS, time banks, HOUR currencies, and convertible local currencies (CLCs) - to assess their performance with respect to four degrowth-related criteria: community-building, advancement of alternative values in economic exchange, facilitation of alternative livelihoods, and eco-localization. LETS have been found to support alternative livelihoods under quite uncommon conditions, and contribute indirectly to eco-localization by moderately facilitating informal resale, repair, and sharing of commercially produced goods, although their burdensome management and confinement to small memberships limit their usefulness. Time banks help expand social networks, and are best at reaching the socially excluded. However, they are confined to unskilled personal services and dependent on grant funding. HOUR currencies do not stand out with regard to any criteria, but may have a minor capacity to promote local purchasing. CLCs are best at attracting local businesses, but no significant evidence of their said capacity to localize supply chains has surfaced as yet, and their business-friendly design works to the detriment of other criteria. In sum, existing research provides a very weak basis for advocating local currencies as tools for purposive degrowth. Local currencies are here categorized as two utopian socialist approaches: the behind-society's-back variety of LETS and HOUR currencies, and the appeal-to-elites variety of time banks and CLCs. Marx and Engels's critiques of these approaches remain valid: successful monetary systems require resources that are not available behind society's back, notably the power to levy taxes and designate by which means they can be paid. Local currencies that appeal for elite support - without mass popular backing - have shaken off most radical connotations, and are vulnerable to changing policy agendas. Given the present historical conjuncture of popular outrage against the banking sector, this paper argues that the degrowth movement would improve its chances of contributing to purposive degrowth by prioritizing government-centred ecological reform of the monetary system over local currencies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research and Degrowth,Research and Degrowth
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2010

This is the Degrowth Declaration issued from the first international conference on socially sustainable economic degrowth for ecological sustainability and social equity held in April 18-19 2008, Paris. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Schneider F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Schneider F.,Research and Degrowth | Kallis G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Kallis G.,Research and Degrowth | Martinez-Alier J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2010

This article reviews the burgeoning emerging literature on sustainable degrowth. This is defined as an equitable downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions at the local and global level, in the short and long term. The paradigmatic propositions of degrowth are that economic growth is not sustainable and that human progress without economic growth is possible. Degrowth proponents come from diverse origins. Some are critics of market globalization, new technologies or the imposition of western models of development in the rest of the world. All criticize GDP accounting though they propose often different social and ecological indicators. Degrowth theorists and practitioners support an extension of human relations instead of market relations, demand a deepening of democracy, defend ecosystems, and propose a more equal distribution of wealth. We distinguish between depression, i.e. unplanned degrowth within a growth regime, and sustainable degrowth, a voluntary, smooth and equitable transition to a regime of lower production and consumption. The question we ask is how positive would degrowth be if instead of being imposed by an economic crisis, it would actually be a democratic collective decision, a project with the ambition of getting closer to ecological sustainability and socio-environmental justice worldwide. Most articles in this issue were originally presented at the April 2008 conference in Paris on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity. This conference brought the word degrowth and the concepts around it into an international academic setting. Articles of this special issue are summarized in this introductory article. Hueting, d'Alessandro and colleagues, van den Bergh, Kerschner, Spangenberg and Alcott discuss whether current growth patterns are (un)sustainable and offer different perspectives on what degrowth might mean, and whether and under what conditions it might be desirable. Matthey and Hamilton focus on social dynamics and the obstacles and opportunities for voluntary social action towards degrowth. Lietaert and Cattaneo with Gavaldà offer a down-to-earth empirical discussion of two practical living experiments: cohousing and squats, highlighting the obstacles for scaling up such alternatives. Finally van Griethuysen explains why growth is an imperative in modern market economies, raising also the question whether degrowth is possible without radical institutional changes. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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