Societies and economies beyond growth: MU at Post-Growth Conference in Brussels

Last week Christian Kerschner, Assistant Professor from the Department of Sustainability, Governance and Methods at MODUL University Vienna traveled to a landmark conference at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss a topic of increasing importance and popularity: societies and economies beyond growth.

With no absolute decoupling of environmental impacts from GDP growth in sight and our destructive footprints increasing, it becomes ever more evident that alternatives to the ‘growth model’ are needed.

Apart from members of the Post-Growth/Degrowth community, this meeting was organized and attended by members of the EU parliament from five different political groups, accompanied by representatives from trade-unions and NGOs. 

This event coincided with the publication of an open letter signed by over 200 scientists in the Guradian and many other European newspapers (the Wiener Zeitung in Austria), which called upon the European Union to prioritize wellbeing over GDP growth in their policies and to start thinking about a post-growth future. 

Kerschner, one of the signatories, also attended a preparatory expert-workshop that provided inputs to the discussion at the parliament. He presented his recent research results on the potential role of technology in a non-growing or Degrowth society, which is considered another milestone in the burgeoning body of Post-Growth/ Degrowth literature.

“This conference is a major achievement for the growing number of activists, scientists and civil society members who are convinced by the increasing body of evidence that suggests the obvious – continuous growth on a finite planet is unsustainable,” Kerschner says. “Moreover, it is a late but welcome recognition of the hard work of so many researchers who have been making this argument for decades.”