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Waste not Degrowth not

Word map of waste and degrowth

The blog “Discard Studies” which focuses on waste, pollution and externalities published a special issue last month on Discard, Diverse Economies, and Degrowth.   The series considers the relation of waste to the growing movement for rethinking prosperity, as we like to call this line of work. The series is an example of the type of depth we might anticipate as the discussion on new economic models for planetary boundaries matures. Here’s a quick introduction to a few items you will find in the series:

Why Discards, Diverse Economies and Degrowth

Josh Lepawsky and Max Liboiron use language mapping tools, similar to those employed by researchers at Rethinking Prosperity to explore the relationship of the terms degrowth, diverse economies, and waste specific to the academic literature. While the concepts are intimately related, the discussion between the fields remains immature.

An Ethnics of Surplus and the Right to Waste

Liboiron explores the concept of dépense, one of the key words in Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era. He lands on the idea of an ethics of surplus, that wherein social relations between people and things can subsist without growth, there must be some purposeful waste. In doing so he see the logic and values of a whole economic system turning on its head.

Exchange and Refurbish: Practicing Decoloniality through Rethinking Discards and degrowth

Erin Arujo looks into the colonial history of waste and the potential for accepting that there are many ways of wasting – and the implications for understanding the current ecological crisis given this idea. Arujo explores how decolonialist approaches may have a beneficial relationship for minimizing throughput.

Read more on the Discard Studies Blog

Image: Network analysis of academic articles on degrowth and their keywords By Josh Lepawsky.

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