I have recently written an article for the RSA Scotland on my research paper about degrowth, basic income, and working time reduction. I know some of you were looking forward to a follow-up on my research and here it is. Please find it below.
I’ve recently started a new job and also working on a new research project looking at degrowth. The main question I’m exploring is ‘How could degrowth be used at a larger scale?’.
What is degrowth?
To me degrowth is an alternative way of organising society that is completely different from capitalism because it doesn’t have economic growth at its core but people and the environment. Individuals in a degrowth society are not merely consumers but citizens and actual environmental limits are taken seriously. The idea of degrowth emerged in the early 70s in France, even before the concept of sustainable development was spoken of (in the 80s). One of its most prominent advocates is Serge Latouche. There are many aspects of degrowth but they can usually fall into three dimensions: economic, social, and environmental.
What does degrowth involve?
Photo: Anastasia Cojocaru
In my readings I came across the concept of oikonomia, which was introduced by Aristotle. While capitalism could be seen as the art of making money out of money, degrowth would be the art of living well.
Given that I’m at the first stages of my project, I’m still defining my research question but you can see below how some of the ideas in degrowth are linked.
Photo: Anastasia Cojocaru
Here’s some food for thought by Ted Trainer: ‘The way to transcend the consumer-capitalist system in the long run is to ignore it to death’.
Do you think degrowth could be a viable way out of capitalism? How could that happen?
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
“I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.”
― J.G. Ballard
‘There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like sketch. No, ‘sketch’ is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.’
“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”
― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter