Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Waste: "Goodbye Green Growth"? Why the problem of growth misidentifies our predicament

16 January 2020, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

timothy mitchell

Timothy Mitchell (Columbia). Chaired by Andrew Barry (Geography, UCL)

This event is free.

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Institute of Advanced Studies


Gustave Tuck LT
Second floor, South Junction, UCL
United Kingdom

The climate emergency confronts us with the problem of growth. Can we avert a planetary catastrophe by altering the ways we consume resources, adopting a new path of “green growth”? Or is the survival of human societies incompatible with continued economic expansion, requiring the radical alternative of de-growth? Answers on both sides assume that growth is a defining feature of capitalism. But in what sense? Growth is not the essential character of capitalist modernity, Mitchell argues, but its alibi. Rather like the concept of market exchange in the nineteenth century, growth is the abstraction that simultaneously explains our relationship to the material world and to one another, and misidentifies it.


Timothy Mitchell writes about colonialism, political economy, the politics of energy, and the making of expert knowledge. Trained in the fields of law, history, and political theory, he works across the disciplinary boundaries of history and the social sciences. His most recent book is Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of OilProfessor Mitchell is a University of Bath Global Chair for the 2018 – 2019 academic year. His appointment has been funded by the International Relations Office’s Global Chair scheme, a flagship programme designed to attract distinguished, globally renowned scholars to engage in high-profile research activities at Bath.

This event is organised in partnership with The Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath.

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