Pope Francis and Degrowth: A Possible Dialogue for a Post-Capitalist Alternative

in International Journal of Public Theology
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The recent social encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) by Pope Francis, contains insightful considerations regarding the present ecological and economic crisis and it calls for an urgent and radical change in people’s lifestyles. Degrowth is an emergent social, political, and economic movement that praises the end of a growth-based society. Somehow, it seems that the ideas of degrowth have been not enough seriously considered by political and economic circles, and by religiously inspired social doctrines. This paper argues that the two, Francis’ text and degrowth’s principles, share some relevant points and they can be allied in prospecting and making effective a paradigmatic change in today’s socio-economic setting. After presenting degrowth’s main ideas, Francis’ text will be analyzed, for then summarizing the results of the analyses in the concluding part.

Pope Francis and Degrowth: A Possible Dialogue for a Post-Capitalist Alternative

in International Journal of Public Theology

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References

1

See: Serge Latouche‘Degrowth’Journal of Cleaner Production18:6 (2010) 519–22 at 519; see also: Serge Latouche Farwell to Degrowth (Cambridge: Polity Press 2009) p. 7.

2

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. 23–5. See as panoramic and introductory views on degrowth Giorgos Kallis ‘In Defence of Degrowth’ Ecological Economics 70:5 (2011) 873–80; Latouche ‘Degrowth’ 519–22. A brief review of contemporary literature is in Marjolijn Bloemmena Roxana Bobulescu Nhu Tuyen Le and Claudio Vitari ‘Microeconomic Degrowth: The Case of Community Supported Agriculture’ Ecological Economics 112:1 (2015) 110–115 at 111. The main points of degrowth are also summarised in the Research & Degrowth ‘Degrowth Declaration of the Paris 2008 Conference’ Journal of Cleaner Production 18:6 (2010) 523–4.

5

See: Samuel Alexander‘Planned Economic Contraction: The Emerging Case for Degrowth’Environmental Politics21:3 (2012) 349–68 at 349–50.

7

See: DalyEcological Economics p. 10 12 26 40.

11

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth p. 14.

16

See: Joan Martinez-AlierEcological Economics: Energy Environment and Society (London: Blackwell1990); Robert Costanza John Cumberland Herman Daly Robert Goodland Richard Norgaard An Introduction to Ecological Economics (Boca Raton fl: St. Lucie Press 1997). See also: Begüm Özkaynak Fikret Adaman Pat Devine ‘The Identity of Ecological Economics: Retrospects and Prospects’ Cambridge Journal of Economics 36:5 (2012) 1123–42; Robert L. Nadeau ‘The Unfinished Journey of Ecological Economics’ Ecological Economics 109:1 (2015) 101–8.

17

See: Kent A. Klitgaard Lisi Krall‘Ecological Economics, Degrowth, and Institutional Change’Ecological Economics84:1 (2012) 247–53 at 247–8.

18

See: Ivan IllichTools for Conviviality (London: Marion Boyars2001); Ivan Illich The Right to Useful Unemployment and its Enemies (London: Marion Boyars 2000); Ivan Illich Energy and Equity (London: Marion Boyars 2000); Ivan Illich Beyond Economics and Ecology: The Radical Thought of Ivan Illich S. Samuel ed. (London: Marion Boyars 2013).

19

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. 13–14 p. 42 pp. 99–100.

20

See: Karl PolanyiThe Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Boston: Beacon Press2001); Karl Polanyi For a New West (Cambridge: Polity Press 2014).

21

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth p. 13.

26

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. 89–90.

27

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth p. 89.

28

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. 88–92.

29

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth p. 91.

30

See: Blauwhof‘Overcoming Accumulation’254–5.

31

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. vii–viii 9.

32

See: DalyEcological Economics pp. 23–4.

33

See: Richard A. Easterlin‘The Economics of Happiness’Daedalus133:2 (2004) 26–33; Richard A. Easterlin Happiness Growth and the Life Cycle (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010); Luigino Bruni and Pier Luigi Porta eds The Handbook on the Economics of Happiness (Cheltenham uk: Edward Elgar 2007); Luigino Bruni and Pier Luigi Porta eds Economics and Happiness: Framing the Analysis (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2005).

34

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth p. 8.

35

See: Kallis‘In Defence of Degrowth’875.

36

See: Kallis‘In Defence of Degrowth’874.

40

See: Serge Latouche‘Can the Left Escape Economism?’Capitalism Nature Socialism23:1 (2012) 74–8 at 77; Latouche Farwell to Degrowth p. 89.

41

See: DalyEcological Economics p. 10.

42

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. 29–30 67–96.

43

See: Latouche‘Can the Left Escape Economism?’75.

44

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. 95–6.

48

See: Kallis‘In Defence of Degrowth’878.

49

See: LatoucheFarwell to Degrowth pp. 99–100.

51

See: Luciano Larivera‘Le Sfide Aperte sulla Casa Comune: L’Enciclica Oltre le Critiche Ideologiche’La Civiltà Cattolica166:3961 (2015) 23–34 at 30.

52

See: Giorgos Kallis and Hugh March‘Imaginaries of Hope: The Utopianism of Degrowth’Annals of the Association of American Geographers105:2 (2015) 360–8 at 361.

53

See: Pope FrancisLaudato Si’ (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana2015) secs. 3–12. For an account of the environmental topic in the Roman Catholic social doctrine until Benedict xvi see: Celia Deane-Drummond ‘Joining in the Dance: Catholic Social Teaching and Ecology’ New Blackfriars 93:1044 (2012) 193–212; Donal Dorr Option for the Poor and for the Earth: Catholic Social Teaching (Maryknoll ny: Orbis Books 2012) pp. 414–27; see also: Christiana Z. Peppard ‘Hydrology Theology and Laudato Si’’ Theological Studies 77:2 (2016) 416–35 at 417–21.

57

See: Joseph Ratzinger‘Church and Economy: Responsibility for the Future of the World Economy’Communio13:3 (1986) 199–204 at 200–203.

59

See: John SniegockiCatholic Social Teaching and Economic Globalization: The Quest for Alternatives (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press2009) pp. 126–131.

61

See: DorrOption for the Poor and for the Earth pp. 157–8.

65

See: Zygmunt BaumanWasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts (Cambridge: Polity Press2003).

67

See: Pope FrancisEvangelii Gaudium (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana2013) sec. 57 secs. 189–90.

69

See: DorrOption for the Poor and for the Earth p. 78 pp. 135–6.

80

See: Christiana Z. Peppard‘Pope Francis and the Fourth Era of the Catholic Church’s Engagement with Science’Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists71:5 (2015) 31–9 at 37.

89

See: Second Vatican Ecumenical CouncilGaudium et Spes (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana1966) sec. 36.

127

See: DorrOption for the Poor and for the Earth pp. 422–3; Marx ‘Everything is Connected’ 305–6.

133

See: DorrOption for the Poor and for the Earth pp. 432–7.

139

See: Steve Douglas‘Religious Environmentalism in the West. I: A Focus on Christianity’Religion Compass3:4 (2009) 717–737 at 725–6.

140

See: Douglas‘Religious Environmentalism in the West. I’725–9; Willis Jenkins Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008); Celia Deane-Drummond Eco-Theology (Winona mn: Saint Mary’s Press 2008). On religious environmentalism focusing on the United States see the studies in: Angela M. Smith and Simone Pulver ‘Ethics-Based Environmentalism in Practice: Religious-Environmental Organizations in the United States’ Worldviews 13 (2009) 145–179; Laurel Kearns ‘Saving the Creation: Christian Environmentalism in the United States’ Sociology of Religion 57:1 (1996) 55–70.

141

See: Anthony J. Kelly‘The Ecumenism of Ecology’Pacifica28:2 (2015) 160–175. See also the initiatives of the World Council of Churches on the topics of ecology and social justice such as the seminar: World Council of Churches ‘Addressing Ecology Theology and Justice in Practice’ held on 23–27 June 2014 at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey Switzerland.

142

See: Douglas‘Religious Environmentalism in the West. I’728.

143

See: Johan Verstraeten‘Towards Interpreting Signs of the Times, Conversation with the World and Inclusion of the Poor: Three Challenges for Catholic Social Teaching’International Journal of Public Theology5:3 (2011) 314–30 at 329–30.

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