"This is a sparkling book. It is both an urgent rallying cry and a measured and accessible introduction to the topic. Brimming with insight and humour, it tackles the question that will shape aeons: if human society doesn't learn to shrink its material footprint the consequences will be dire – so how can that task be approached? Anyone who wishes that earth remains habitable should read this book." – Gareth Dale, Brunel University London
“Kallis’s personality resonates through the pages ... clear, approachable and often humorous ... he succeeds in making Degrowth accessible to a wide audience ... the pace is well suited to those new to the subject, including students. Kallis skillfully unpacks complex concepts and provides a consistent stream of accessible analogies.” – Maxwell Hartt, Economic Geography
"Mandatory reading for students, researchers and practitioners interested not only in degrowth, but also more generally in economics, politics and sustainability. The book's arguments are highly significant to tackle the key challenges of the twenty-first century – climate change, rising global inequality, economic crises ... well written: scholarly yet accessible, rigorously argued but with humor and full of everyday examples ... A welcome addition to degrowth scholarship and will have considerable influence on teaching degrowth at both undergraduate and graduate levels." – Matthias Schmelzer, Ecological Economics
"A thought-provoking, informative and comprehensive resource ... offers both a justification as well as a vision and new imaginary for degrowth ... Kallis’ hypotheses and theories are well- researched, and linked to empirical data." – Sarah Hafner, Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) blog
The term “degrowth” has emerged within ecological and other heterodox schools of economics as a critique of the idea (and ideology) of economic growth. Degrowth argues that economic growth is no longer desirable – its costs exceed its benefits – and advocates a transformation of economies so that they produce and consume less, differently and better.
Giorgos Kallis provides a clear and succinct guide to the central ideas of degrowth theory and explores what it would take for an economy to transition to a position that enables it to prosper without growth. The book examines how mainstream conceptualizations of the economy are challenged by degrowth theory and how degrowth draws on a multifaceted network of ideas across disciplines to shed new light on the economic process. The central claims of the degrowth literature are discussed alongside some key criticisms of them. Whether one agrees or disagrees with degrowth’s critique of economic growth, Kallis shows how it raises fundamental questions about the workings of capitalism that we can no longer afford to ignore.
1. What is degrowth? 2. The economics of degrowth 3. Economic growth from a degrowth perspective 4. The case for degrowth 5. The utopia of degrowth 6. Controversies, debates and future research
Giorgos Kallis is Professor of Ecological Economics and Political Ecology at ICTA, Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has been a Leverhulme visiting professor at SOAS, University of London and a Marie Curie International Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-editor of Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era (2014).