Degrowth as an alternative to the collapse of humanity

Degrowth as an alternative (Carlos Taibo, Professor of Political Science)

Degrowth theory proposes a radical change in the logic of the current economic system. Instead of pursuing economic growth as the main goal, it advocates a controlled reduction in consumption and production in rich countries in order to achieve a more sustainable balance with the environment and a better distribution of wealth.

The basics of the theory:

  • Recognizing the boundaries of the planet: Earth’s resources are limited, and unlimited economic growth leads to the depletion of these resources and environmental degradation.
  • Consumer criticism: The current model of overconsumption creates a large amount of waste and pollutant emissions and does not lead to increased happiness or well-being.
  • Prioritizing Social Wellbeing: Degrowth aims to reorient the economy towards satisfying people’s basic needs and developing values ​​such as solidarity, cooperation and community.

How would degrowth be implemented?

There is no one-size-fits-all model for implementation, but some measures that could be taken include:

  • Shortening of the working day: Distribute the available work among more people to reduce consumption and production.
  • Implementing a universal basic income: Ensure a decent standard of living for everyone, regardless of work.
  • Reassessing unpaid work: Give priority to housework, caring for children and the elderly, and other jobs that are not paid in the current economy.
  • Developing a circular economy: Reduce resource consumption and waste generation through reuse, repair and recycling.

Criticisms of the degrowth theory:

  • Impact on employment: It is argued that the decline in consumption and production could lead to unemployment.
  • Difficulties in implementation: The political and social feasibility of such a radical change in the economic system is being questioned.
  • Risk of social regression: Some fear this could lead to a decline in social welfare and an increase in poverty.
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Degrowth theory is a complex and controversial topic, but one that is receiving increasing attention in the context of the climate crisis and social inequality. It is important to continue the debate on this proposal and to delve deeper into it to explore its potential and challenges.

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