What economic democracy for degrowth? Some comments on the contribution of socialist models and Cuban agroecology

Boillat, Sébastien; Gerber, Julien-François; Funes-Monzote, Fernando R. (2012). What economic democracy for degrowth? Some comments on the contribution of socialist models and Cuban agroecology. Futures, 44(6), pp. 600-607. Elsevier 10.1016/j.futures.2012.03.021

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While degrowth is about reducing energy and material flows in the economy while
sustaining basic human needs, capitalism fosters the opposite trend. How then is
degrowth to be implemented on a large scale? In line with different critical intellectual
traditions, we argue that degrowth is unlikely to occur within an economy based on capital
accumulation and free market of assets. Our objective is then to preliminarily investigate
the links between economic structures, democratic principles, and degrowth. We do this,
firstly, by briefly exploring some of the main theoretical models of economic democracy in
order to find out their potential for achieving sustainable degrowth. In our view, models of
self-managed socialism have the best potential for this. Secondly, we intend to learn some
empirical lessons from a countrywide experience: Cuban agroecology, today’s largest reallife experience of agroecological ‘‘degrowth’’. Our hypothesis is that the Cuban economy, which limits the private accumulation of capital and of productive assets, is in a better position for achieving forms of sustainable degrowth than capitalist economies, but that it would be even more so with more democracy. The Cuban agricultural system faces the challenge to free itself from the central planning tradition. This could be achieved by
following the current process of giving increasing autonomy to small producers.
Specifically, we argue that small-scale farmer cooperatives have the best potential for
achieving the degrowth-oriented goals of agroecology.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Boillat, Sébastien-Pierre


900 History > 910 Geography & travel
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Sébastien-Pierre Boillat

Date Deposited:

13 Feb 2020 15:09

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:31

Publisher DOI:






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