Degrowth is a social movement and a conceptual framework which repoliticizes the development debate, currently overwhelmed by the idiom of economics. The degrowth movement and theory are attempts to reinterpret the fundamentally untenable position of modern society, and a call to build imaginaries and conceptual frameworks suitable for a radical shift towards sustainability. It is about sustainability in the physical and social sense; not just sustainability that provides enough energy and food for all people on the planet, but sustainability that describes a life worth living for everyone.
There is a significant scientific and activist production of research topics under the degrowth umbrella, such as limiting economic growth, alternatives to the modernization theory of development, deepening democracy, the social role of science and technology, the necessity of leaving capitalism and designing institutional innovations such as the minimum guaranteed income, solidarity economy or alternative currencies.
Snail is the symbol of degrowth.
IPE looks at climate change, the most important environmental problem, through a social lens. Like other forms of environmental change, climate change increases social inequalities, both globally and at country level, which further affects power relations in society. From the viewpoint of climate justice, special attention needs to be paid to the fact that the poor and marginalized, who have made the smallest contribution to the creation of this problem, will bear the brunt of it, and without the necessary resources to cope with it. IPE also initiates or engages in research that covers the political dimension of mitigating climate change or adapting to climate change.
“Sustainability” is an umbrella term for various strategies developed to avoid the climate collapse. We try to approach sustainability through an interdisciplinary perspective rooted in the European semi-periphery.
Only ecologically clean and socially just energy in the hands of or under the control of the citizens can be safe energy, in the long run. Croatia is still in the group of Eastern European countries that are failing the ecological transition and has one of the most carbon-intensive GDPs, as well as insufficient use of renewable energy sources.
Public services such as water supply, electricity and transport are key to environmental sustainability, as well as the social inclusion of citizens. These services are often provided by inefficient and corrupt public companies and institutions that are fully under the control of political parties and mainly serve private interests rather than the public one. As an alternative, numerous agents advocate privatization, realized through direct sale of public companies, concessions or public-private partnerships, but this gives the private businesses a monopoly that allows them to maximize profits at the expense of public interest.
IPE explores models of democratization of public services in order to correct the shortcomings of public management and prevent the privatization of public services. Such models include different forms of transparency and participatory democracy, so that various social actors, such as users and workers, and not just representatives of political parties, oversee public companies and institutions in serving the public interest.
The commons are a model that places the management of natural and social resources in the hands of the user community, as opposed to having them managed by the market and the state. Around the world, throughout history as well as today, there have been numerous examples of such managing models for lakes, forests, pastures, airports, buildings, parks, gardens, digital encyclopaedia and computer programs. Institutions structured by user communities ensure fair access to a resource, collective control over its management and sustainable use of the resource. IPE explores and popularizes the existing models of shared resources management, and proposes new models for joint management of resources to ensure environmental sustainability.
IPE approaches this area from the perspective of environmental sustainability and democratization. We place resource management in the context of economy within planetary boundaries and ecological limits. In addition, we focus primarily on the issue of public ownership and the participatory model of managing natural resources, public infrastructure, commons and public services.
Municipalism stands for political and economic democratization at the local level. Municipalist platforms aim to steer some of the energy of progressive social movements into political organizations that run for elections. At the same time, these platforms aim to serve as vehicles for further institutional democratization through creating direct and participatory democracy models for residents in cities and towns. They aim to bridge contentious and institutional politics by not simply redirecting protest energy from the streets into formal political institutions, but by creating a double political front best described as “a foot in the institutions and a thousand in the streets”.