Alternatives to Growth
International Transform conference in Copenhagen
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Venue: 3F København, Peter Ipsens Alle 27, 2400 Copenhagen NV
Organisers: “Transform!Danmark” in cooperation with the “Transform!Europe” network, and supported by Enhedslisten/the Red‐Green Alliance as well as the leftwing magazines “Det Ny Clarté”, “Solidaritet”, “Kritisk Debat”, “Socialistisk Information”, and “Grobund” (left educational association).
The TransformDanmark network has existed for around a year and this is the second international conference organised by the network. Our aim is to contribute to the Danish debate with a critical and informed analysis of the society and create and participate in discussions on alternative development in Denmark as well as Europe and globally.
The purpose of this second international conference is to promote a necessary but difficult debate on the ecological and equitable alternatives to environmental and mainstream economy and thinking. This debate is neglected by mainstream economists. And it is also fundamentally lacking as a broad debate within the left. This is the reason for our choice to invite an international panel to inform and inspire and to contribute to the much wider debate and policy making that is needed, when the aim is to transform and change societies into environmentally and socially sustainable and equitable societies.
9.30 – 10.00: Registration / tea and coffee
10.00 – 10.15: Welcome and introduction
10.15 – 11.15: Gabriele Michalitsch, political scientist and economist, Department of Political Science at Vienna University: Power and Truth: Forming Neoliberal Subjects.Neoliberalism means not only a basic transformation of the economy or the state, it also implies a profound redefinition of the subject. Connecting power and (economic) knowledge Gabriele Michalitsch will inquire on dominant postulates guiding neoliberal thinking and language as crucial modes of subject formation. Furthermore, she will propose alternative concepts and approaches to challenge these “accepted truths”.
11.15 – 11.30: Short break with tea and coffee
11.30 – 12.30: Inge Røpke, Professor, Aalborg University, Center for Design, Innovation and Sustainable Transition (DIST): Ecological Economics: Calling for Transformational Change. Ecological economics differs fundamentally from environmental and mainstream economics by focusing on the need for systemic transformation which takes both planetary boundaries and a global fair distribution of resources into consideration. Inge Røpke will present the framework of ecological economics and discuss the challenges from the perspective of the rich countries, including the need for transformation of socio‐technical systems and for wider institutional changes.
12.30 – 13.15: Lunch
13.15 – 14.15: Petter Naess, Professor in Planning in Urban Regions, Norwegian University of Life Sciences: “Green growth” is an illusion.There is a need to shrink the economy in rich countries like Denmark. But if the absence of growth shall not lead to the poor becoming even poorer,
it is necessary with strong social control of the distribution of wealth. Petter Næss uses examples from town planning systems in Denmark and Norway to explain why good initiatives to reduce the use of resources will be undermined by rebound effects if societies do not transform into societies built on environmental and social sustainability. Ecosocialism may be an appropriate term to such a society.
14.15 – 14.30: Short break with tea an ad coffee
14.30 – 15.30: Christa Wichterich, Women in Development Europe (WIDE), researcher and author: A feminist perspective on transition and transformation strategies. The analysis of the multidimensional and interlocking crises as a systemic crisis has reloaded discourses about the globalised development model which is driven by the logic of GDP‐growth, efficiency and profit maximisation. For feminists the growth/de-growth debate is an opportunity to connect three debates on which they focused in the recent past: 1) the care economy, 2) commons and commoning, and 3) a critique of neoliberal globalisation, resp. sufficiency in production and consumption. It is time to repoliticize economic issues from the perspective of social reproduction, stress the emancipatory potential of the caring economy, of commons and the principle of not living at the cost of others and the nature.
15.30 – 16.00: Break with tea and coffee, fruit and snacks
16.00 – 18.00: Debate and summary