Events; News & Events

Kyoto JAPAN: Symposium on Basic Income for Degrowth, on 11th September 2016

The Forum on Shrinking Society is hosting its 35th symprogoosium on 11 September 2016. The symposium’s theme is Unconditional Basic Income for Shrinking Society.

 

Time of Symposium:

13:30-19:15 (UTC+9)

11 September 2016

 

Venue:

Lecture room 3, New Building of Faculty of Letters

Yoshida (main) campus, Kyoto University

(Number 8 on this map)

 

Speakers:

Toru Yamamori

Kimio Ito

Hiroshi Matsuhisa

 

The language used in the symposium is Japanese. However, at the reception (see program below), there will be some people who could communicate in English, including speakers of the symposium. One speaker is fluent in Italian as well.

To register online:

http://confreg.ate-mahoroba.jp/confreg?conf_idstr=byBxaD90pgTqIM9nkdINSvb3876

 

Detailed program:

13:30-15:00  Toru Yamamori (professor, Doshisha university): Keynes’s prophecy, Meade’s degrowth, and the Working Class Women Liberationists’ Prefiguration

15:15-16:00  Kimio Ito (professor, University of Kyoto): From Operaismo to Autonomia: Wages for Housework, Unemployment, Students, etc. in Italy

16:00-16:45  Hiroshi Matsuhisa(professor emeritus, University of Kyoto): A provisional plan for Shrinking Society based on UBI

17:00-17:30  Discussion

17:45-19:15  Reception(3000 yen at a different venue nearby)

 

About The Forum on Shrinking Society:

The phrase ‘Shrinking Society’ might sound unfamiliar to readers. The organization deliberately chose the term after collective discussion. They found that terms such as ‘sustainable’ and ‘degrowth’ are not sufficient to represent their purpose, because they believe that “it is necessary to shrink the physical size of society” (as they put it in their founding).

The whole statement is as follows:

The economic growth strategy is facing a dead end. Fossil fuel depletion and environmental concerns have been the topic of discussion recently, with the only solution provided being to hold some superstitious belief that future technological advancement will somehow overcome the problem. In order to maintain the current exponential economic growth, available resources and land must also increase annually. Even a 2 percent annual growth rate will in 100 years lead to a 7.2 fold, and in 200 years a 52 fold increase in necessary land and resources. This is obviously not possible and will only result in a world-wide corruption. The whole world will be fighting over scarce resources. In fact, the war over fossil fuel is already underway. This is why the discussion for “de-growth” and sustainability has come under the spotlight in recent years.

So what kind of “sustainability” are we talking about? Is it that of the current economic growth, lifestyle, environment, or resources? It’s simple – we’re talking about sustaining resource and environment for our future generations. For this, we must reduce our resource usage. Say we have a 100 years’ worth of fossil fuels. If we reduce our usage of this valuable resource by 1 percent a year, there will be another 100 years’ worth of fossil fuels left forever. If we reduce our usage further, the resource will be available for more than 100 years. This is the most practical way of preventing resource exhaustion.

In terms of the environment, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air will perpetually increase as long as we continue to use fossil fuels. If we can reduce the usage of fossil fuels then we can also slow down the increase in carbon dioxide emission. If, in the future, a new resource or technology becomes available, then an adjustment can always be made to this reduction plan. However, it is not smart to continue the current growth with an unsupported hope “for an alternative resource to become available and make everything fine”.

The current economic system is based on mass production and mass consumption with quantitative growth and global competition. As a result, our lives are flooded with physical “stuff” which we have become addicted to. Our ever-growing society is already showing signs of discordance instead of happiness. The desirable model of shrinking

society on the other hand supports local production and consumption, which requires less energy, is more ecological, and more durable in the long-term. People will no longer be addicted to physical “stuff” but instead nurture each other and promote creative life.

After the drastic earthquake that hit Fukushima, Japan’s electric power usage has decreased by 10 percent. This in itself shows that the above-mentioned road to shrinking society is possible. Happiness comes from not only physical abundance but also affluent community life and creative work. By following the road to shrinking society we are taking responsibility for our future generations.

The economic growth strategy is facing a dead end. In order to avoid crisis, it is necessary to shrink the physical size of society. At present, there are many problems, such as resource depletion, environmental pollution, population explosion, expanding inequality and terror attacks and wars. The Forum on Shrinking Society is being created to link and unite professionals from various fields in hopes of finding solutions to these problems.

January 22, 2013

Toru Yamamori

About Toru Yamamori

has written 113 articles.

Toru Yamamori is a professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.

Share Button

One comment

  • william david clegg

    As a person who dropped out of the workforce at age 40 and chose to live a modest lifestyle instead of an expensive and consumer based one, i can attest to the incredible benefits of a “shrinking society”.

    I see all kinds of wonderful people whose lives are consumed by trying to make enough dough to pay the bills for the consumer lifestyle they live. Meanwhile i never carry debt, have a mortgage free home, and live a frugal yet stress free existence on my pensions and a small private income. Now i am 70 and have great memories of volunteering at a variety of agencies over the decades, of getting a couple of degrees,

    I like to say, there is no greater sense of freedom than knowing that every minute of every day is yours to do with as you please.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *