< Back to previous page


The impact of "degrowth" and market economies on welfare and sustainability: a historical exploration.

Growth used to be seen as a precondition for welfare and sustainability, but this consensus is criticised by the degrowth movement. Degrowth is defined as a paradigm shift towards nonaccumulation, sharing economies and commons. Degrowth does not refer to slow or absent growth in market economies. The movement claims that non-market economies without accumulation strategies are more capable of sustaining high average income levels and sustainable environments in the long run. This goes against the grain of the dominant paradigm that sees growth as a precondition for welfare and a green economy. I will introduce the degrowth hypothesis into historical research and analyse the long term welfare and sustainability levels of two different types of societies: market economies, where production factors were allocated predominantly through the market, and historical degrowth societies, characterised by non-accumulation, market independence, commons and sharing economies. To establish the connections between degrowth or market economies and levels of welfare and sustainability, this project will investigate and compare four historical societies, two degrowth societies (The Campine and Drenthe) and two pre-modern market economies (Western Zeeland Flanders and Groninger Ommelanden). They will be analysed from a long-term perspective, to test which type of society was able to sustain high levels of welfare and environmental resilience over the long term and under which circumstances
Date:1 Oct 2017  →  30 Sep 2018
Disciplines:Other agriculture, forestry, fisheries and allied sciences, Economic development, innovation, technological change and growth, Economic history, History