Development Cooperation in a Post-Growth Era

by Ulla Puckhaber & Tanja Brumbauer (NELA -Next Economy Lab)

“Without growth – no investments, without growth there are no jobs, without growth there is no money for education, without growth there is no help for the weak”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said when introducing the Growth Acceleration Act in November 2009. However, in times of massive ecological overshoot and increasing inequalities worldwide, this growth dependency is increasingly questioned, particularly the notion of ”green growth”. Critics ask:  Is economic growth really indispensable for wellbeing and (global) justice? Or is it, on the contrary, rather a source of global inequalities, severe environmental crises and- even a possible economic decline in the long run?

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An African Renaissance perspective on EU-Africa relations

by Valentina Brogna

In this blog Valentina Brogna explores how the concept of African Renaissance (AR) may reshape the relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa. Partly building on African and diasporic perspectives, she argues that EU-Africa relations are still imbued with coloniality, that there is unclarity as to what delinking from Western modernity would entail for Africa, and that the EU should first and foremost listen rather than proactively seek agreements.

This contribution is part of a blog series seeking to explore how postdevelopment approaches can inform, infuse and potentially transform the study of EU (development) policies and relationships with the Global South.

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In times of crises: Why there is no place for ‘development’ in imagining a just future for all

by Adriana Cancar

In these current times of crises, and I purposely use crises in the plural, fatal misconceptions of ‘development’ and ‘growth’ are becoming even more blatantly apparent. Any given day we can see the consequences of ‘development’. Humans are forced to look for a safe place to live as their homes are simply inhabitable due to environmental degradation, land grabs, extractivism, heat waves, floods, droughts and fires. All the while, it feels like the climate crisis is  only taken seriously by young people most likely to experience the devastating consequences of a fossil-based, mass consumptive and resource-intensive lifestyle. Slowly but surely global warming is also hitting the global North –  and that means crises also affect ‘us’, the (relatively) ‘privileged’. By ‘privileged’ I mean those that for decades have profited from a fossil-based, mass-consumptive lifestyle all the while externalizing its costs. Continue reading “In times of crises: Why there is no place for ‘development’ in imagining a just future for all”

[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Mi Vida

by Daimys E. García

Mi Vida,

Writing does not come easily to me; writing during this time has been especially excruciating. A close friend once described me and my process as a ‘mortar and pestle.’ A grinding effort that may produce beautiful results, but does so only through a series of meticulous, painful, relentless breakings apart. ‘It would be easier,’ he explained, ‘if you just channeled a food processor instead—dump all the ingredients and out it comes: same results, a lot less suffering.’ At first defensive and annoyed by the description, I now hold a deep tenderness for it. The way of the food processor removes all of the knowledge-building. This labored process I learned in the kitchen with my grandmother who still, at 90 years old, uses a mortar and pestle to grind garlic. Through it, she taught me how to feel food, taught me how to smell for readiness, taught me patience and rhythm through pain. I think of how her grandmother taught her how to tolerate that pain for the knowledge it brings, and I take comfort in that ancestry.

And so… I write to you bleeding: this labor an expression of pain and tenderness.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] What does self-reliance really mean? Amazing stories from India’s margins

by Ashish Kothari

Can you imagine Dalit women farmers in Telangana, once facing hunger and deprivation, contributing 20,000 kgs of foodgrains for COVID19-related relief? Farmers on the Tamil Nadu – Karnataka border continuing to send organic food to Bengaluru consumers even during the lockdown? Villages in Kachchh and Tamil Nadu handling anti-COVID19 health measures, with minimal outside help? And adivasis (indigenous people) in central India with community funds able to take care of migrant workers who have had to come back to their villages?

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Caring for Our Shared Life-Worlds

by Wendy Harcourt

In her beautiful and widely circulated piece in Con Tactos, Judith Butler speaks of Human Traces on the Surfaces of the World asking us to consider deeply our interconnectedness:

“The virus lands on, enters, one bounded body and departs to land on the skin of another or on an object, looking for a host —the surface of a package, the porous material of a shared world” (21 April 2020).

The question is how can we share this world, as we all feel our vulnerability and our interconnectedness. How can we move beyond the deep multifaceted inequalities which are so starkly revealed in the pandemic and work towards maintaining communities that are based on care and respect for others diversity and our common responsibility for our shared life-worlds.

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It is time to abandon “development” goals and demand a post-2030 Utopia

by Mia Kristin Häckl and Julia Schöneberg

Following the critique, by Brecht De Smet, of the inherent shortcomings of the development paradigm, Julia Schöneberg and Mia Kristin Häckl argue for a post-2030 Utopia that starts now. They propose to ‘un-develop’ the Global North and to start from a multitude of radical alternatives from below.

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[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] THE DAY AFTER

by Gustavo Esteva

No future

We lost floor underfoot.

Our world was reasonably predictable. Suddenly, from one day to another, deep trends that allowed us to anticipate the general and probable course of events and behaviors disappeared. We can no longer foresee what will happen. We are facing radical uncertainty.

There are inertias, obsessions, propensities and hobbies. We can correctly assume that a variety of actors and sectors of society will persist in the lines of behavior that characterize them. But we cannot know the outcome of their actions in what will undoubtedly be a new balance of forces, under radically new circumstances.

The world we will experience after the pandemic will not have changed because of it, but for previous critical conditions. We know almost nothing about the climate that is emerging after the climate collapse. Even less do we know what will remain of the institutions after the socio-political collapse. The pandemic only heightened the challenges at the crossroads we had already reached.

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[COVID-19] (Insubordinate) Conviviality in the COVID-19 Conjuncture

by Manolo Callahan

There is no escaping COVID-19. And by now, most agree we all must contribute what we can to minimize the impact of this deadly virus. Unfortunately, there is less agreement about what has changed and even more uncertainty about what will be our “new normal” as we pass through this crisis. The battle lines over what is or isn’t “normal” have never been more clearly drawn. Do we return to the system as it once was, resurrecting what brought us to this moment, or do we engage some other way of living, working, and celebrating together?

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Development: a failed project

Read also in SPANISH

It’s time to abandon development and think about postdevelopment instead.

by Julia Schöneberg

“They talk to me about progress, about ‘achievements,’ diseases cured, improved standards of living. I am talking about societies drained of their essence, cultures trampled underfoot, institutions undermined, lands confiscated, religions smashed, magnificent artistic creations destroyed, extraordinary possibilities wiped out. They throw facts at my head, statistics, mileages of roads, canals, and railroad tracks. […] I am talking about natural economies that have been disrupted – harmonious and viable economies adapted to the indigenous population – about food crops destroyed, malnutrition permanently introduced, agricultural development oriented solely toward the benefit of the metropolitan countries, about the looting of products, the looting of raw materials.”

– Aime Césaire (1950): ‘Discourse on Colonialism’

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