CCS'16 Satellite #38 — TIMES
September 20, 2016

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“Perma-circularity” as a systemic framework for autonomizing and linking territories

Christian Arnsperger (University of Lausanne)

I will take a critical stance towards the “Smart” fashion that seems to be sweeping transition thinking these days. As trendy as it is, “Smart” is very often linked with a techno-fix, eco-modernist vision for the future to which I have trouble subscribing. Our task, no doubt shared by most in the TIMES group, is to arrive at systemic solutions anchored in what was for a long time known as “appropriate technologies” — neither high nor low tech, but a smart combination of both, with a foremost objective in mind: to build a world in which humanity as a whole has a permanent ecological footprint of one planet, and to do so under socially and economically equitable circumstances. Given current population trends, this cannot be done within the current high-tech capitalist market system, or with a “circular economy” still predicated on (green) growth. We need a “perm-circular” economy that combines re-territorialization, re-localization, and a huge global reduction in material flows together with new, more “sober" ways of linking territories. I will try to present some useful ideas about how to implement such an economy, drawing inspiration in particular from permaculture, bioregionalism, the “Municipalist” school of anarchistic democracy, and the “Territorialist” school of sustainability. 

Christian Arnsperger is professor of sustainability and economic anthropology at the Institute for Geography and Sustainability (IGD) of the Faculty of Geoscience and Environmental Studies (FGSE). He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Louvain (Belgium) and has been teaching and researching for many years at the interface between economic analysis, human sciences, and existential philosophy. A specialist of post-consumerist/ post-growth economic alternatives and of the link between ecological transition and the change of mentalities and lifestyles, he is also a scientific adviser to the Alternative Bank Switzerland (ABS) and, in that capacity, he develops "action research" field projects and collaborations in the area of sustainable finance.

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