Organizing for Transformation: Post-growth in International Political Economy

Jacob A. Hasselbalch, Matthias Kranke, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The global political economy is organized around the pursuit of economic growth. Yet scholars of International Political Economy (IPE) have been surprisingly slow to address its wide-ranging implications and, thus, to advance debates about post-growth alternatives. The premise of the article is that for IPE to deepen its grasp of the escalation of contemporary socioecological crises both analytically and normatively, it needs to put the growth question front and center. To problematize the pursuit of economic growth from an IPE perspective, we bring together research on green growth, post-growth/degrowth, sustainability transitions and socioecological transformation. More specifically, we develop an analytical framework that revolves around four pathways of reorganization toward socioecological sustainability: (1) modification, (2) substitution, (3) conversion and (4) prefiguration. We use illustrative examples from the plastics and food sectors to show how the post-growth pathways of conversion and prefiguration could interact to trigger change for sustainability. Notably, our discussion reveals that conversion, which requires a strong state for developing post-growth institutions, is the least traveled pathway in both sectors. This insight points to a strategic priority for post-growth proponents and an urgent research agenda for IPE scholars.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1621-1638
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 18 May 2023.


  • Degrowth
  • Economic growth
  • Green growth
  • Post-growth
  • Socioecological crises
  • Sustainability
  • Transformation

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