Logo degrowth
Scientific paper


Scenarios for sustainable futures beyond GDP growth 2050

Åsa Svenfelt

Entry type:
Scientific paper

Year of publication:

Budapest 2016



The idea of continued economic growth is increasingly questioned and critically analysed on the basis of it´s potential negative sustainability impact. Along with the critique, visions and strategies for alternative systems need also be brought onto the agenda. The research program "Beyond GDP growth - Scenarios for sustainable building and planning" explores what could happen in the Swedish society when growth is no longer seen as an end in itself but the goal is instead other qualities that society might wish to achieve. Normative backcasting scenarios are developed, that illustrate future states in which four sustainability targets (climate, land use, participation and resource security) are to be attained. The aim of this paper is to present and discuss the process and the qualitative content of the scenarios. The ultimate aim is to create a basis for further development of the scenarios, for methodological development, and to create means for deepened discussion and analysis of societies beyond GDP growth. The focus of the four scenarios is: 1) collaborative economy, 2) local self-sufficiency, 3) automation for quality of life, and 4) circular economy in the welfare state. The scenarios are presented as descriptions of the future in Sweden, with a brief description of global trends and developments in Sweden that may explain the scenario assumptions. The scenarios are discussed in terms of their usefulness in different contexts, key challenges identified and stakeholder/power relations. Future research questions are also identified.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Scenarios for sustainable futures beyond GDP growth 2050“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.

Share on the corporate technosphere