Green republicanism and a ‘Just Transition’ from the tyranny of economic growth

John Barry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
117 Downloads (Pure)


The conjoining of civic republicanism and green politics is a new but timely response to understanding and navigating a path through and beyond our turbulent times. A green republican analysis our contemporary condition–climate breakdown, rising inequality, the crisis of representative democracy–sees the structural and ideological imperative (tyranny) of endless economic growth as one root cause. From a green republican perspective economic growth has now passed a threshold where it has become a threat, both to the sustainability/longevity of the polity, but also common goods and human flourishing. This paper identifies and analyses key components of the growth imperative, such as debt-based consumerism and non-democratic workplaces, as well as more widely discussed requirements of growth to externalise ecological and social costs, and growth’s dependence on cheap and secure sources of fossil resources. It argues that these components of growth pose serious risks to liberty as nondomination, the securing and protecting of common goods, rough equality and securing the ecological conditions for the republic. Therefore, these ‘green’ concerns should be also concerns for republicans. The paper looks at one recent strategy that has been proposed to help move societies beyond climate breakdown and carbon-addiction–namely the ‘Just Transition’ discourse and set of policy proposals. The paper offers a green republican account of the Just Transition strategy for a post-or low carbon economy in which equality, justice and democratic participation are central.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Early online date24 Dec 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 24 Dec 2019


  • debt-based consumerism
  • Green republicanism
  • just transition
  • post-growth
  • wage slavery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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