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Capitalist Realism or Post-Growth? Evidence from the Mental Growth Infrastructures of Post-Capitalist Organizations

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The capitalist system is increasingly criticized for being ecologically and socially destructive and thus critics start assessing the feasibility of a post-capitalist era. In the current debate on the feasibility of overcoming the capitalist system and transitioning to a post-capitalist alternative, Post-Growth scholars (who believe in such a possibility) are opposed by Capitalist Realists (who do not). Both sides, however, usually centre their arguments around the economic and socio-political facets of capitalism. This debate is not fully integrating scholars that view capitalism as a mind-set, or inherent set of beliefs, involving material as well as mental infrastructures. By investigating post-capitalist organizations (i.e., organizations that have already overcome some economic aspects of capitalism), this thesis tests whether claims for Capitalist Realism hold true on the mental level. Slightly modifying the framework of Mental Growth Infrastructures by Welzer led to the specific investigation of organizations´ perceptions of the acceleration of time, the need to progress and the work non-stop mentality. Semi-structured interviews and field notes were gathered from six post-capitalist organizations and analyzed via a mixed analytical approach of both inductive and deductive coding. Results indicated that organizations do not exactly follow the patterns of Mental Growth Infrastructure as established in the literature. In fact, either organizations exhibit Mental Growth Infrastructures but slightly modify the purpose of adopting them, or critique and re-conceptualize them. This resulted in an Organizational Framework of Mental Growth Infrastructures, which adds Mental Green Growth Infrastructures and Mental Post-Growth Infrastructures. It is also discussed what such framework could imply for organizations within and outside the capitalist economy.
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