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WWWforEurope Special Session at the Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014

 

WWWforEurope Special Session at the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecologic Sustainability and Social Equity

Conference topics: Organising Society - Building a Social and Ecological Economy - Living Conviviality

Leipzig, Germany, 2-6 September, 2014

Programme

Detailed Programme

 

WWWforEurope Special Session: European Policies Beyond Growth?

Moderated by Anke Schaffartzik, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

Giorgos Kallis, Autonomous University of Barcelona,
Karl Aiginger, WIFO,
Karl Pichelmann, European Commission

 

Karl Aiginger participated at a WWWforEurope Special Session titled “European Policies Beyond Growth” at the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecologic Sustainability and Social Equity in Leipzig, Germany, where academic researchers and NGOs gathered, favouring a society with incomes and consumption lower than today, which nevertheless achieves higher welfare.

Karl Aiginger’s main point was that today declining economic output would immediately lead to higher unemployment and higher public debt, and even ecological investments would decline. Ideas as to reduce working time could reduce the tensions, but since a reduction of working hours is connected to lower wages per capita, not all people will agree and those with lower income might fall below the poverty line.

Even if growth is necessary today, in a long-run strategy the growth imperative can be reduced if technical progress is more resource- and energy-saving and less labour-saving. Lower growth rates – which are predicted for industrialised countries - can be used for higher welfare content than today.

Thus in the medium run growth should be restarted, but made more sustainable and the welfare content of given incomes should rise. In the longer run the necessity to increase production should be reduced by social and ecological innovation, a more equitable income distribution and a higher role of sustainability.