The End of Economic Growth: Social Regression or New Beginning?
Speaker: Steve Mock (WICI Affiliate Researcher)
Title: National Identity and the Liberal State in a Post-Growth Economy
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
The powering-down of the world economy ultimately mean re-localization to relatively autonomous, self-sufficient communities. Steven Mock will argue, however, that it is a mistake to assume that such re-localized communities will also be politically and socially progressive. Many social goods such as human equality, freedom of conscience, and social mobility are sustained in part by their functionality in the service of growth-oriented economic structures, and in turn those structures are the product of a unique social grouping called the nation.
The removal of growth as the conceptual centre of the socio-economic system will lead to the erosion of our identification with these communities of common culture, and a decline in the need to provide the mass literacy and public education necessary to maintain them. And, without growth, competition between individuals for roles higher up the social ladder will be replaced by ascribed roles and rigid, inherently inequitable social formations. Degrowth could lead to the end of goods such as social mobility, individualism, meritocracy, egalitarian gender relations, democracy, and cosmopolitanism.
Speaker: Stephen Purdey (WICI Affiliate Researcher)
Title: The Way Ahead: Global Governance, Complex Adaptive Systems and Societal Transformation
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
The ever-bigger world economy is now bumping up against, and in some cases breaching constraints imposed by the finitude of the planetary bio-geosphere. Yet, more and faster growth is demanded as a political priority. How can this conundrum be explained?
Complex adaptive systems often display emergent properties, that is, extra, unanticipated properties which emanate from the synergistic interactions of the system’s component parts. The human body is a complex adaptive system which exhibits the emergent property of consciousness. Can a similar property be ascribed to the human population as a whole? Stephen Purdey will present the case that human society on Earth is also a complex adaptive system, suggesting that our population may be endowed with an evolving ‘collective consciousness.’ Still at an early stage of development, this shared consciousness may be vulnerable to momentary impulses, unreflective behaviour, and simplistic ideas. One such idea—that growth is good and more is better—has been institutionalized as a non-negotiable policy priority, forming the core principle of modern global governance. Given that this idea is untenable in the long run, it must be superseded in our emergent ideational domain. A new form of global governance, guided by new ideas and principles, can foster a more mature shared worldview not premised on the lethal illogic of perpetual economic growth.
See the essay, below, for further information on this topic.
A downloadable copy of the essay can be accessed here: Complex Adaptive Systems and Global Governance
Tagged with: collective society • conscience • conscious • government • growth-oriented • ideas • illogic • individualism • inequitable • mature • meritocracy • mobility • nation • population • power • progressive • re-localization • relations • rigid • self-sufficient • shared • social • socio-economic system • structures • vulnerable • world • worldview