We are heading towards a planetary catastrophe with full speed. Free markets, economic growth, and technological progress, once supposed to be rational, efficient, and emancipatory, now threaten human civilization. In 1919, Otto Neurath rejected the “pseudorationality” of a market economy, arguing for the need to install a “war economy” not based on monetary exchange. In addition to pandemics, inflation, and wars which also characterized Neurath’s time, we are witnessing a climate crisis which accelerates the polycrisis. The Anthropocene therefore calls for new concrete visions to overcome the “pseudorationality” of the current system.
In the face of the polycrisis, neoliberal market fundamentalism is no longer acceptable, and correspondingly, there is an increasing demand for radically rethinking conventional values such as “market freedom” and “eternal economic growth.”
The war economy in the Anthropocene puts forward two antitheses against the capitalist optimism: “planning” and “degrowth.”
The obvious dilemma arises due to the incompatibility between the bottom-up and horizontal approach of degrowth and the top-down approach of economic planning under the war economy. In order to overcome this dilemma, this research program explores the rich but marginalized tradition of degrowth, socialism, ecofeminism, and post-development.
By drawing on various forms of democratic planning in theory and practice, we aim to explore new avenues of value creation for social well-being that go against and beyond the capitalist concept of value as endless profit maximization. We will work along three dimensions:
- how is it possible to secure and even deepen democracy under war economy?
- how can social and individual freedom flourish despite the obvious necessity to strictly follow social and ecological planning?, and
- what would prosperity and development mean in life after capitalism?