Planning Beyond Growth: the case for economic democracy within limits
Degrowth and post-growth economics has emerged as a particularly fruitful approach in the debates about the reorientation of economies in the Global North towards environmental sustainability, equity, need satisfaction and democracy. While degrowth is often defined as “a planned contraction of economic activity aimed at increasing well-being and equality” (Schmelzer 2015, 264) or with reference to ‘design’ or ‘coordination’, there is strikingly little explicit engagement with or research into what exactly ‘planning for degrowth’ could look like. By exploring the degrowth-planning nexus, this paper seeks to lay a foundation for this effort. We start by critically reviewing the existing degrowth and post-growth literature on planning and reflect on potential reasons for why the planning debate has been limited so far. Against this backdrop, the second part of the paper provides a framework for analyzing and debating the degrowth-planning nexus. We start by delineating the specific questions, requirements and challenges that arise for planning in the context of degrowth. And we finally open some avenues for advancing the intersection between degrowth/post-growth and planning by sketching a possible design for planning processes beyond growth.