What is degrowth and why would it be a solution for our society?

We live in an economic context in which material profit, productivity and the relentless struggle for more and more growth and development prevail.

But … what if instead of constantly growing, we stop growing? Degrowth is a movement of socio-economic development. We are faced with an anti-crisis theory, the objective is to reduce production in an optimal and responsible way, in order to achieve a balance between production / consumption and the use of the natural resources necessary for this.

Then we will present the social advantages and the benefits that degrowth can bringThe dissemination has not received all the support expected to date, where future challenges will be to provide resources to a crowded world.

What does degrowth consist of?

This current was born at the end of the 20th century at the hands of the American mathematician and economist Georgescu-Roegen. His successful studies in economics and sustainable development have earned him recognition as the founder and father of dececentism.

The pillars of degrowth lie in abandoning the absurd idea of ​​annual economic growth that we hear so much about in the news and that is what our governments advocate so much. Therefore, an effort is made to talk more about voluntary degrowth. In other words, that is to say work fewer hours and enjoy more free time.

Several economists have aligned themselves with this thought, but the most influential in making this theory known in modern society has been the French Serge Latouche.

For this author, degrowth itself is not a scientific thesis or a significant revolution. In his own words, it is a simple and powerful concept to grab the attention of the global audience. We are currently facing a serious problem of the scarcity of primary resources; scientists and naturalistic experts warn of a long-term risk if urgent action is not taken with regard to domestic consumption.

For social growth

Latouche denounces the strong commitment to the market economy to the detriment of quality in society. Today, growth is only considered profitable if its effects have a positive influence on natural resources, future generations and the working conditions of workers.

For Serge Latouche, the cultural revolution is the only alternative. As he explains in his book “Le pari de la décroissance”, he offers a series of solutions under the prefix “re”, which designates repetition or retreat, which he called the “8 R” model:

1. Reassess

Need to redefine current globalist, consumerist and extremely consumerist values ​​through more local economic cooperation and humanist values.

2. Restructuring

To mold the means of production and social relations to the new scale of redefined values, such as the combination of eco-efficiency and voluntary values.

3. Redistribution

This concept has two purposes. On the one hand, it seeks to directly reduce the power and means of the world class of consumers and, in particular, of the oligarchy of big predators. Otherwise, it aims to re-educate the population by reducing the invitation to unnecessary and ostentatious consumption.

4. Move

Degrowth aims to produce locally, through local businesses and with goods essential to meet the needs of the population. Without wanting to establish a system of borders, it is necessary to limit oneself to producing the essential for the company recovering the territorial anchoring.

5. Reconceptualize

Current development sacrifices society and its well-being for the benefit of “development entrepreneurs”. In other words: multinationals. It is about making a change in values ​​that brings us back to a different vision of the current reality, an artificial reality of consumption. In this way, wealth must be reconceptualized from poverty or scarcity over abundance.

6. Recycle

Extend the life of each of the products we use and avoid irresponsible consumption and waste.

7. Reuse

Long-term use of the material products we buy such as clothing, household appliances or the car.

8. Reduce

Degrowth’s first and last essence. Drastically reduce the impact on the biosphere of the way we produce and consume. We must not only decrease our consumption of tangible products, but also of intangible assets, such as working hours and health consumption, by reducing the purchase of drugs and the abuse of medical treatments.

Another essential element to reduce is mass tourism and the exaggeration of constant recreation. The human mind is adventurous, but modern industry has exaggerated this need by maximizing our travel impulses.

Degrowth as the only solution

Degrowth advocates an economic model to improve the quality of life of the majority. Among some ideas, we highlight the most important that govern our life and our sense of happiness, namely work and leisure.

A reduction in the working day will lead to an increase in leisure time and we must use it in social life. and creative hobbies versus consumer hobbies.

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