Browsing by Subject "talouskasvukritiikki"

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  • Haapanen, Liisa (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    In this master's thesis, I examine 21st century criticism of economic growth. The aim of the study is to understand what economic growth represents to growth critics. The research question is: what are the central themes of contemporary growth critique? The research material consists of three books: Tim Jackson's Prosperity without growth – economics for a finite planet (2009), Peter Victor's Managing without growth – slower by design, not disaster (2008) and the Finnish translation of Serge Latouche's Petit traité de la décroissance sereine (2007, Finnish translation Jäähyväiset talouskasvulle published in 2010). A qualitative content analysis was conducted on the material. In this method, manifest and latent meanings of the text are condensed and categorized in order to identify the key themes of the text. The analysis reveals three central themes in the criticism of economic growth. Each offers a different perspective to economic growth, to the proposed alternatives and to the opposition between growth protagonists and antagonists. First theme is growth as a phenomenon, which focuses on concrete ecological and social impacts of economic growth. The main argument of the growth critics is that the social and ecological costs of growth exceed its benefits in the western countries. In addition, they argue that economic growth cannot be viably combined with reducing ecological impact of human activities. The second theme is growth as an institution, which focuses on the institutional dependence on growth as well as institutional structures supporting growth. The critics' opinion is that these institutions now form a vicious circle in which people serve the economic growth and not vice versa. Also the proposed institutional change for disentangling society from growth is relevant to this theme. The third theme is growth as an ideology, which focuses on economic growth as a hegemonic belief and value system as well as a political goal above other goals. Under this theme, the growth critics promote emancipation and outline an alternative ideology. One main conclusion of the study is that the growth critics are not in favour of the opposite of economic growth, i.e. they do not promote a diminishing economy as an end in itself. Instead, their critique opens up a discussion on an alternative society which does not revolve around the economy and its size. However, this alternative is not pictured very clearly in the research material. It seems that the growth antagonists are able to describe what they oppose more elaborately than what they support. Another conclusion is that there is an internal tension within current growth critique. When examining economic growth as a concrete phenomenon the critics suggest indifference towards economic growth. Yet, under the other two themes the approach is everything but nonchalant since dismantling the institutions and ideology of growth will hardly be achieved without intentional resistance. Since the three books analyzed lean on and draw from earlier and contemporary references critical to economic growth, the three themes might be utilized in analyzing and understanding growth critique in general. However, this should be verified in further studies. What is more, when applied to other texts one might discover new themes not covered in this study. Because this study concentrates on the aspects that the three books representing growth critique have in common, in the future one should examine whether there are different schools of thought within the 21st century growth critique. Another interesting subject for further studies would be to apply the three themes to analyzing degrowth visions and possible degrowth experiments.
  • Sademies, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In my thesis I analyzed the ongoing discussion about the relationship between economic growth and the environment by the means of content analysis and discourse analysis. As the continuously growing use of natural resources has a connection to many environmental problems, the functioning of the economy is essential when discussing the alternative solutions to environmental problems. I wanted to investigate what the discussion about the relationship between economic growth and the environment includes, and what kind of phenomenon is economic growth represented as. Theoretical frameworks I used were the environmental discourse analyses of Hajer (1995) and Dryzek (2005). I also paid attention to the organizations behind the discourses by classifying the writers due to the organization they represented. The material I used were texts published in the Internet, with no limitations concerning the form of the publication or the publisher. The only limiting factors I used, were the search terms. The material was taken from a database called “Economy and the Environment” (translation from Finnish), and it was not originally collected for this thesis, but for any scientific or educational purposes. I analyzed three discourses in the discussion concerning the relationship of economic growth and the environment: “Belief in growth”, “Green growth” and “Growth critique”. In Belief in growth, economic growth was an intrinsic goal. Pursuit for higher material standard of living was unquestionably a good thing. Belief in growth seemed to be the discourse especially for business interest groups. There were quite many academic writers too, but the academics were not mainly writing in belief in growth discourse, but were also presented in great numbers among the writers of all three discourses. In Green growth discourse economic growth was not an intrinsic goal, but was considered necessary for financing the welfare state. There were hopes that technological development, ecoefficiency and a transformation towards service and information economy would lessen the adverse environmental effects of economic growth. Technology had a major role in Green growth, and it was even seen as a major force itself, solving environmental problems without any role from the users. Amongst the writers of Green growth, Officials and members of the political Green party of Finland were presented in large numbers. In Growth critique discourse endless economic growth was seen impossible on a finite planet, and the ongoing strive for economic growth was seen to cause environmental and social problems. The discourse wanted to change our economic system, so that the pursuit for growth could be abandoned. Abandoning the pursuit for growth was seen also as a question of global equality: the rich countries were hoped to abandon the pursuit for growth, so that the developing countries would have resources left for growth. Compared to other discourses, amongst the writers of Growth critique, NGO’s, social movements, and civilians were presented in large numbers. The discussion about the relationship of economic growth and the environment constituted as a whole in such a way that in the discourses there were expressed opinions about other discourses and their writers. On the other hand, the discussion included many disconnecting elements. This was for example due to the underlying perceptions of environmental problems, and the nature itself, which differed clearly among the three discourses. This finding is convergent with the discourse analyses of Hajer and Dryzek. In Belief in growth environmental problems were local, and mostly described as pollution, which can be removed with the means of cleaning technology. Nature, in this discourse, was a collection of elements which can be used and organized by humans how ever needed. Also in Green growth environmental problems were mostly described as pollution, but the existence of other kinds of environmental problems were recognized as well. In this discourse the global scale existed, as there was a lot of discussion about climate change. In Growth critique environmental problems were seen as one big global crisis, caused by the excessive use of natural resources by humanity. In both, Green growth and Growth critique, nature was seen as a system of which humans are strongly dependent on. The weakest points in the discussion were related to the use of concepts of economics and environmental sciences, and weakly justifiable arguments. In Growth critique, some complicated concepts of economics and environmental sciences were used, which seemed to be poorly understood by the writers of other discourses. Green growth seemed to be suffering of a lack of historical perspective, especially considering the discussion about ecoefficiency, where strong presumptions about the significance of ecoefficiency in reducing the adverse effects of economic growth were made without any historical perspective. In Belief in growth there was incoherence with the concept of economic growth, and means and ends got mixed in the discussion about economic growth and wellbeing. In both Green growth and Belief in growth there were very weakly justified arguments about hopes for information technology and services creating immaterial economy. Interesting topics for future research in Finnish environmental discourse would be the discourse of Green politics, discussion about immaterial economy and the weaknesses in the arguments related to ecoefficiency.