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That the notion of “sufficiency” is essential for a good life is an idea that enjoys support across many ethical, philosophical, religious and cultural persuasions. This notion reasserted itself in the study of sustainability once modern society reluctantly took cognizance of the limited low entropy energy ...

That the notion of “sufficiency” is essential for a good life is an idea that enjoys support across many ethical, philosophical, religious and cultural persuasions. This notion reasserted itself in the study of sustainability once modern society reluctantly took cognizance of the limited low entropy energy and matter available for human appropriation. There is today therefore a general recognition of (i.e. not necessarily wide agreement on the merits of or needs for) notions of sufficiency as a species of environmentalism within secular communities. In this context, a critical question that invites our attention is how to effect sufficiency, and in particular of dealing with the daunting challenge of injustice as well as questions of distribution within and between countries that it brings to attention. Given sufficiency’s original home, as it were, in tradition, the modern world has tended to dismiss it or to plead to individual voluntary simplicity when faced with evidence asserting its necessity. Sufficiency is also often written away as a spiritual problem. The domain of ascetics and the religious. How to habilitate sufficiency in a political economy for the secular modern facing its biggest existential challenge yet, in the form of the environmental crisis?

Acknowledging the challenge of advancing knowledge-action on sufficiency for the secular modern is generative of a number of questions. These range from those about designing and implementing development interventions to those about geopolitics and international relations. How to know and act toward sufficiency in material provisioning for a “good life”? This question is implicated in countless daily decisions shaping “Development” interventions across the world. A further complexity arises when we ask this question in the context of vast, highly consequential and historically generated differences between the Global North and Global South. How to advance sufficiency when stark material deprivation and overabundance coexist? Further, how to talk about sufficiency while international relations are entering another century of tremendous churn that is unsettling key geopolitical equilibria of the twentieth century? At a theoretical level, can economies oriented to sufficiency sustain powerful, domestically legitimate and geopolitically assertive states? Also critical is the question of how to effectively communicate the notion of sufficiency in secular modern language and idioms so that policy and practice are changed.

We invite manuscripts to advance knowledge-action on pursuing sufficiency in diverse contexts around the world, so that cumulatively, human society learns a little more about living well within social-ecological limits. Themes to address, but not limited to, are:

• Political Economy of Sufficiency
• Sufficiency and Financialization
• Sufficiency and Production-Consumption Systems
• Sufficiency in Development Studies, Policy and Practice
• Sufficiency and the Capability Approach
• Sufficiency and Human Freedoms
• Sufficiency and Technology Choice
• Sufficiency and Participatory Planning
• Sufficiency and Deliberative Democracy
• Sufficiency and Alternatives to Development
• Sufficiency and the Global North
• Sufficiency and the Global South
• Sufficiency and Consumption Corridors
• Sufficiency International Trade and International Relations
• Sufficiency and Twenty-first Century Geopolitics
• Sufficiency Communication, Power and Discourse
• Linking sufficiency in traditions across the world, to sufficiency as an idiom for the secular modern

This Research Topic welcomes review papers, research papers, perspectives, and policy position papers that address any of the issues and themes identified above.

Keywords: Sufficiency, Sustainability, Sufficiency economy, Sufficiency and political economy, Sufficiency and the global south, Sufficiency and the global north, Sufficiency and international relations, Sufficiency and production-consumption systems.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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