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?