The publisher: After a stressful week at work, we all feel we sometimes deserve a treat too: perhaps the latest smartphone, an iPad, or a flatscreen television. Before we know it, we are stuck in the vicious circle of consumer desire and time poverty. And that is not all: the constant demand for “more” is causing raw materials to disappear and driving environmental destruction forward.
The world is still not ready to abandon the drug of “growth”. However, the debate about the end of excessiveness is gathering momentum. Sustainability researcher Niko Paech provides a timely polemic that unmasks “green” growth as a myth. Yet “green” growth and “sustainable” consumption are seen as the new and best way forward. Despite this, the subtle distinction – here “good”, there “bad” growth – is held by Paech to be nothing more than a sham.
In his counter model of a post-growth economy, he calls for restrictions upon industrial value added processes and for patterns of self-sufficiency to be strengthened. This form of economic activity would not only be more frugal but also more stable and environmentally friendly. And it would also provide a release for the many people who already find life in the rat race of material self-realisation very uncomfortable.