Last summer, Matthias Schmelzer and Andrea Vetter, both from the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie in Leipzig, published the book ‘Degrowth/Postwachstum’. With this book, they provide the first introduction to degrowth in German. For lack of a good German translation of ‘degrowth’ they use ‘Postwachstum’ more or less as a synonym. First they describe how our societies came to depend on growth, and they present various strands of criticism on growth. After that, they discuss definitions of degrowth, goals of the movement, they present concrete proposals, and discuss the strategy.
Environmental protection is needed because we take useful things out of nature and put useless or harmful things back in. The resulting depletion and pollution have reached harmful, unsustainable levels. We know that voluntary behaviour change, led by an elite that encourages, fosters and politely ‘nudges’ the masses, won’t do it. Legislated solutions are needed on the principle of ‘I will if you also have to’.