One of the key drivers of the globalised modern economy has been cheap and convenient energy, particularly oil, with governments and industry seeing low cost supplies as critical to economic growth. Despite the energy crisis of the 1970s, there is optimism that, driven by technological developments, market forces and human ingenuity there will be no shortage of supplies: further finds will come on stream, supplemented by alternative energy to lead us into a 22nd century of continuous growth. This is supported by the media and through popular culture that reinforces these false narratives, sometimes in the implicit messages of literature and films. Especially significant are the blockbuster Hollywood movies that are watched by millions worldwide and visualise this ideal world we are supposed to aspire to, one of masculine individuality and advanced technology, as promoted in one of the most popular films of 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This paper suggests that incorrect assumptions about growth and development are fed by these myths. Popularising alternative approaches to economic thought will require challenging the orthodoxy using similar means. Rather than developing rational arguments explaining resource depletion or the consequences of unsustainable growth, ideas associated with de-growth need to be communicated through equally compelling narratives. One suggestion is to revisit an earlier period in European history and re-evaluate its features without the bias of current neoliberal ideology: that maybe now is the time to re-assess the so-called Dark Ages of the early medieval period.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „From Star Wars to the Dark Ages“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.