There is is an alternative to ‘eternal economic growth’

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Populism wake-up call

A July 10, 2019 Toronto Star article by Frank Graves and Michael Valpy, which I came across on Twitter, is entitled: “Why Canadians need to wake up about populism.”

The article argues that direct confrontation with economic stagnation and escalation of wealth concentration is essential, to counter the rise of populism.

The need to confront escalation of wealth concentration is readily evident. However, it may be argued that the unending pursuit of economic growth is among the things that have brought us the climate crisis.

That said, I very much like the emphasis on seeking solutions to the problems that face us rather than just focusing on the problems.

There is an alternative to ‘eternal economic growth’

A Sept. 26, 2019 CBC article is entitled: “Greta Thunberg was right: There is an alternative to ‘eternal economic growth’: Climate activist called endless economic growth a ‘fairy tale,’ but it may depend on how you define growth.”

An excerpt reads:

Canadian economist and author Peter Victor, who studied at UBC and taught at Toronto’s York University, says that conflict between words and investment is the crux of the collision between the traditional way of thinking about business — the idea of investing for endless growth — that has to be overcome to stop climate change.

And clearly, for most economic thinkers trapped in the long-held view that boosting GDP with industrial growth is the most important job for governments and business, Victor’s newly reissued book Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster may be difficult reading.

“Most economists would really take the position that there is no choice: If you don’t have growth, the system would collapse,” said Victor this week from a cabin somewhere near Algonquin Park.

London School of Economics book review addresses topic of terminology

An Oct. 14, 2019 London School of Economics article is entitled: “Book Review: The Far Right Today by Cas Mudde.”

An excerpt reads:

While the book itself is designed primarily with non-academic readers in mind, they too must grapple with one of the more perplexing aspects of this debate: terminology. As frustrating as this can be, it remains an essential task. As scholars in the field well know, there is no consensus between academics when it comes to terminology, but most agree that the ‘far right’ is an umbrella term that encompasses the broader subgroups of the radical right and extreme right. In a nutshell, the differences between the two concern their attitude to democracy: the former operates within democratic institutions, and the latter, quite simply, does not. Mudde provides readers with a series of examples that contextualise these distinctions, and touches upon another term that has found a foothold in contemporary political debate: populism.

Mudde describes populism as a ‘thin’ ideology that views society as being split into two groups, the ‘pure people’ and the ‘corrupt elite’, and that politics should reflect the will of the people, or the volonté générale. In theory, populism is pro-democracy, albeit against liberal democracy. While the debates surrounding terminology may be viewed as an academic exercise, it is important for readers to understand these distinctions, particularly as they can vary on a country-to-country basis, as is the case with Germany where far right groups can face monitoring by the intelligence services if they are considered too extreme.

Populism reading list – London School of Economics Review of Books

A March 5, 2019 London School of Economics Review of Books article is entitled: “Reading List: 10 Recommended Reads on the Contemporary Far Right and Populism.”

The introduction to the article reads:

In this reading list, the Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde recommends 10 books on the contemporary far right and populism written and edited by women scholars. If you would like to add to this list, please add your recommendations in the comments below.

This reading list is part of a theme week published in the run-up to International Women’s Day 2019 (#IWD2019) to showcase and celebrate women’s scholarship across the social sciences and humanities. You can explore more of the week’s content here.

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