- Romano’s thesis regarding dépense is ambiguous. He mentions that Bataille, starting in the 30s, reformulated the concept over the subsequent decades and that Bataille related dépense to the bountiful energy of the sun. Solar energy, Bataille noted, is not completely absorbed by earth’s natural processes and circulates “aimlessly in the environment up until the point where it extinguishes itself.” (All quotes are from Romano’s essay on dépense in Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era.) One is at a loss to understand the exact meaning of this statement.
Last year, a compilation of degrowth perspectives appeared in the form of a modest encyclopedia of sorts, titled Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era. The short essays in this book define a number of degrowth-related terms, some easily recognized as universal concepts familiar to activists across the world, like the commons, environmental justice, and peak-oil, and others that may puzzle: conviviality, anti-utilitarianism, and post-normal science.
“No modern solutions to modern problems” – B dS Santos
Hardly a week goes by without another dire warning about climate change. Whether the alarm comes from a university, an animal protection outfit, a human rights NGO or an intrepid TV journalist warily broadcasting in the front of a melting iceberg, their message of impending catastrophe hardly registers amongst the other debilitating news of terrorist bombings and police violence.
It’s a warm Monday morning in June. 7:15 a.m. and I am waiting for the bus to take me to my first job. I just graduated high school and my father discouraged me working during school or even during the summer breaks.
FOCUS: Why don’t we start with a little background on you personally and the team you are with? Just some general statements that we can begin to explore in more depth.
Jorda Tivva: Given what we do, maybe I should start by saying that all my life I have been intrigued by cities and this is true of most of the team.
Pre-industrial European societies, for the most part, didn’t conceive of time in the abstract as a scarce commodity that indicated when to work and when not, but as an elastic measure embedded in social relations. The seasons determined work: as daylight waned in winter so too did toil.
Occupy was a rarity in America – an explicitly “post-political” movement. It was not your textbook rebellion. No manifesto! No demands! No Villa, no Lennon, no Malcolm X to lead the masses, just a messy, somewhat incoherent, but ultimately a critical and joyful experience – until the truncheons, gas, rubber bullets, and all arrived.
In Response to Grist’s “Real Sharing” Economy
The idea here is to subvert consumerism by real sharing and in so doing create a better quality of life, beyond the notion that material scarcity rules, to develop in its place social practices that cultivate meaningful relationships, so to retrieve, or discover, our unique creative outlets.
Monthly Review’s February, 2015 issue contains two essays on the cooperative sector. “Neoliberal Co-optation of Leading Co-op Organizations and a Socialist Counter-Politics of Cooperation” by Carl Ratner explores the tepid economics and the conformist politics of these “leading” organizations. The other essay by Peter Marcuse, “Cooperatives On the Path to Socialism?” focuses on worker cooperatives and deserves extensive discussion amongst members of those cooperatives.
– Basic Income or Job Guarantee?
REFUSING TO WORK
Periodically, the New York Times publishes sobering long-form articles depicting the economy in dark tones that clash with their more upbeat business page reportage. For example, the NYT recently noted a poll indicating the decline of belief in The American Dream – Many Feel that The American Dream is Out of Reach, Poll Shows (December 10, 2014).