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Scientific paper


The Paradox of Sustainable Degrowth and a Convivial Alternative

Oscar Krüger

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Scientific paper

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Environmental Values


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Abstract: Insofar as development implies economic growth, the term 'sustainable development' appears to some as a contradiction in terms. However, such conclusions still lack a thorough examination of the conceptual structure of the two terms between which there is a purported contradiction. In order to address this issue, the present paper scrutinises some of the assumptions which underwrite the ideologies of sustainability and of development. It is argued that there are key assumptions which both ideas have in common, and that sustainable development is thus perfectly coherent on a conceptual level. It is alternatives which retain either term (such as 'sustainable degrowth') that are embroiled in paradox. The paper then examines two concepts for criticising the ideology of economic growth in other terms: dépense and conviviality. It is argued that the latter is preferable to the former for the purpose of developing post-sustainable critiques of growth.

Environmental Values, Volume 28, Number 2, April 2019, pp. 233-251(19)

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