My (fairly) new research project on degrowth

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?

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Photo: scorai.org

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?

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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.

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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?

0 thoughts on “My (fairly) new research project on degrowth

  • Interesting thoughts Anastasia! You are right, it is time for such a development and there is no other choice if humanity choses to guarantee a good life standard for all people. We are too many now to continue exploiting the world in the way we do now, however there is more than enough resources left if we shared and used them sparingly. We need to introduce a dimension of sharing – and also recognize the fact that a functioning and healthy ecosystem/environment is also the key to our survival. We need a thoroughly and holistically educated society. Education, food and transport should be available for free and at any time. If people do not have to fear poverty, and can educate and move around freely we can reach our goal of a responsible, tolerant and world open society. This is what the new left should fight for
    Justin from aberdeen

    • Yes, all these are degrowth policies. It’s lovely hearing from you! I’m looking into how the transition to this kind of society you’re describing could actually happen (government policies implemented in certain countries). Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

  • I believe the best way to implement a degrowth society, or rather to help promote it, is through the promotion of women’s rights, as well as a concise attempt to decolonize societies minds regarding consumption culture. I will be writing a few blog posts in the near future so to go into more depth about these notions. Hopefully you’ll enjoy what I have to say 😀

  • A very interesting topic! I’m as well researching degrowth from a social-ecolological viewpoint and was able to organize a seminar concerning the possibilities of a social-ecological transformation this year. I’m very much looking forward to more of your posts!!

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