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From the text: . . . In conclusion, let me outline our hypothesis. If growth has been a central pillar of stability in wealthy countries throughout the 20th century, then it is reasonable to argue that its lack in growth-oriented societies might create instability. I propose to read under this light too, but of course not only, the recent emerging political conjuncture, from Trump to Brexit, including a generalized rise of the authoritarian right.
Even the IMF argues that we might have entered into a new phase of low growth potential, especially in wealthy economies. This has been called New Normal, New Mediocre, or Secular Stagnation. The Wall Street Journal recently argued that: “In Europe, as in the U.S., voters are angry at political elites and frustrated by slow growth”. This places the end of growth right at the centre of 21st Century politics – inside and outside the parliaments.
For how long will we keep sacrificing everything in the name of growth, with austerity policies? How far will the mainstream be able to support growth’s mirage? And how – and who – is going to challenge the discontent emerging out of slow growth in growth’s societies? Can we give this frustration a new meaning and direction, other than that of closure and phobia?
Welcome to the new era of post-growth politics. As Tim Jackson and Peter Victor argued in The New York Times: “Imagining a world without growth is among the most vital and urgent tasks for society to engage in.”
So we start a new year with the knowledge that degrowth has now entered into the Parliament, and hopefully it is here to stay. We have just started and we recognise the challenges remain huge and sometimes seem insurmountable. The degrowth community wants to face the challenges. And in the House of Commons I was pleased to see we share the challenges and the tasks ahead with powerful companions.