SS06. Investing in degrowth: resourcing postgrowth futures

What might it mean to invest in degrowth? At first glance, “invest” and “degrowth” seem like a contradiction in terms, but experimenting with what this can be--both in theory and in practice--is a critical step in helping many people see degrowth as a viable option.
In this session, we will elucidate how "investing in degrowth" goes beyond impact investing and other so-called "sustainable finance" practices in fundamental ways. From enabling different ownership structures to dissolving growth imperatives, it can and must enable systemic changes away from the extractive and concentrative mechanisms of capitalism by moving both money and power.
What could this look like for individuals/households, banks/financial institutions, institutional investors like pension funds and insurance companies, and governments?
We’ll explore some of what has been done so far and seek to go further together, towards imagining and realizing resourcing a postgrowth future. Spoiler alert: it’s not just about money.

  • Expected proposals format: conventional panel contributions
  • Keywords: Postgrowth Finance, Microeconomics, Resourcing, Ownership Models, Finance, Funding
  • Related track(s): 12. Transformative businesses and organizations in a postgrowth context
  • Organizers: Linn, Anastasia V. (Degrowth Switzerland; University of Zurich, Switzerland); Wilkins, Jennifer (Heliocene. org, New Zealand; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain)

Full description

90 minute Session, the maximum number of presenters will be 5. We would be happy to connect with and involve anyone who has been working on this topic, and therefore look forward to session applications from the wider community, even though the number of official “speakers/presenters” is limited. As such, there may be some more interactive elements, though we would still consider this a more traditional session format (e. g. panel with audience participation) as opposed to a workshop.

Current finance hegemony is a major factor holding back postgrowth businesses and individuals from embracing degrowth as viable. We believe that better understanding these barriers at various scales, and exploring ways to overcome them, are critical contributions to enabling innovation beyond growth. Currently, the production, promotion, and adoption of technological innovations are largely driven by the preferences of Capital: e. g. Venture Capital firms seeking to build hard- and software “ecosystem” dependencies, engineer addictions, and scale at all costs (largely to prop up their high-risk business models). This is deeply counter to degrowth values, and presents significant obstacles to realizing convivial communities as we consider the future of innovation and creativity. 

We would like to lift up this theme and provide insight into existing alternatives, connecting dots across finance, investing, (collective) entrepreneurship, local community resourcing/resilience, politics, and philanthropy/the NGO industrial complex while opening the door to continued work on this important topic.

As organizers, we bring with us years of experience in event management, facilitation, and public speaking in business leadership and innovation (design and tech) contexts, as well as within sustainability and degrowth circles. We have also made early contributions to this emerging field as the co-author of the first ‘Investing in Degrowth’ whitepaper and organizer of the ‘Exploring Postgrowth Finance’ event series respectively. We also look forward to engaging nascent networks of people interested in and working on this topic in this discussion.