Special Issue "Sustainable Welfare beyond Growth"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2019).
Interests: political economy; social policy; sustainability; welfare; degrowth
Environmental sustainability literature has not paid much attention to welfare issues. However, this is necessary as ambitious climate policy targets, for example, have distributional consequences that threaten to make them unpopular amongst the electorate. Conversely, much current welfare and social policy literature continues to gravitate around the crisis and corresponding recalibrations of the welfare arrangements that were developed in the post-war era. Ecological concerns such as climate change keep being largely ignored.
The emerging approach of ‘sustainable welfare’ has begun to integrate environmental sustainability and social welfare research and has demonstrated that, on a finite planet, Western production and consumption patterns, as well as its welfare standards, cannot be generalized globally. At the same time attempts to absolutely decouple GDP growth, resource use, and greenhouse gas emissions have largely failed. As highlighted in degrowth/postgrowth literature, a significant reduction of the matter and energy throughput of the economy in the rich countries is required in order to make their production and consumption patterns compatible with planetary boundaries and to safeguard wellbeing in the future.
The provision of ‘sustainable welfare’ has in general terms been defined as satisfaction of human needs within planetary limits, in a global and intergenerational perspective. An institutional compromise for a sustainable welfare society would need to go beyond existing institutions and welfare regimes. However, further interdisciplinary research is needed to broaden and deepen the theoretical concept of sustainable welfare, thereby systematically accounting for environmental and intergenerational concerns. Elaborated ‘eco-social policies’, which may help re-embed the rich countries into planetary limits, are also required at transnational, national, and local levels.
In asking what it requires to make welfare societies ecologically sustainable, this Special Issue regards the current financial, economic, and political crisis and the corresponding adjustments in existing welfare state institutions as an impetus to also consider the environmental crisis and reach beyond the growth imperative. Are there, for example, indications that particular welfare configurations are in a better position to provide environmental sustainability than other welfare state types? What is the current relationship between wellbeing, economic growth, and environmental impacts? How can wellbeing be ensured while reducing material and energy use? And how is ‘sustainable welfare’ related to concepts such as ‘sustainable development’ or degrowth?
We particularly invite papers that
- develop theoretical perspectives on welfare and wellbeing within environmental limits;
- provide empirical studies that combine sustainability and welfare perspectives;
- identify and discuss (emerging) eco-social policies for sustainable welfare beyond growth.
Dr. Tuuli Hirvilammi
Prof. Max Koch
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- environmental sustainability
- social welfare
- sustainable welfare
- eco-social policies