Furthering the "degrowth" agenda

Degrowth is an emerging paradigm intended to revitalize global society for the better, and has been gaining popularity and creating a vigo...

Degrowth is an emerging paradigm intended to revitalize global society for the better, and has been gaining popularity and creating a vigorous research area in recent years.

According to Wikipedia:
"Degrowth is a political, economic, and social movement based on ecological economics, anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist ideas. It is also considered an essential economic strategy responding to the limits-to-growth dilemma. Degrowth thinkers and activists advocate for the downscaling of production and consumption—the contraction of economies—arguing that overconsumption lies at the root of long term environmental issues and social inequalities. Key to the concept of degrowth is that reducing consumption does not require individual martyring or a decrease in well-being. Rather, "degrowthists" aim to maximize happiness and well-being through non-consumptive means—sharing work, consuming less, while devoting more time to art, music, family, nature, culture and community."
As a result of an interesting discussion thread on ResearchGate, I wrote down a few of my observations about degrowth. If I do say so myself, I thought my comments ware relatively good, so I thought I'd transcribe them here too.

It seems degrowth is largely concerned with re-balancing consumption (and related notions of economic growth, resource usage, population, etc.) with the quality of life that said consumption allegedly provides; basically, privileging quality of life rather than quantity of ownership and use. As such, it seems that degrowth is an intermediary step intended to bring about a new balance point for society, after which further degrowth would likely result in as many disadvantages as the unbridled growth we see today. That is, degrowth is a means to achieve a more balanced society, and thereafter yet another doctrine will be needed to preserve that new society.

It also seems to me that there are no systems that "grow" (by any reasonable definition) without bound, without also eventually collapsing. Furthermore, it seems that the faster and more uncontrolled the growth, the more catastrophic the eventual collapse. Since the doctrine of growth is directly connected to physical quantities - energy, resources, time, etc. - it seems to me that all pro-growth arguments are really pro-consumption arguments, and are fundamentally flawed because they do not account for the eventual collapses. What corporation seeks to manage its own eventual demise while it is still growing?

Finally, it seems to me that the notion of growth is (partially) rooted in an unjustified sense of permanence and a denial of death, and may be connected to a sense of human exceptionalism that unfortunately persists despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Everything dies, one way or another, and a more robust and successful paradigm would have to account structurally for the natural rise (growth) and fall (death) of things, people, companies, institutions, societies, and nations.

Having written all that, though, it does seem to me that we are now at the time where we must seriously replace the doctrine's of unbridled growth, no matter how slow that growth might be, or risk the inevitable and quite frankly global collapse that will inevitably ensue.



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The Trouble with Normal...: Furthering the "degrowth" agenda
Furthering the "degrowth" agenda
The Trouble with Normal...
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