In a recent article for Forbes, Corbin K Barthold makes several allegations against the idea of degrowth without having a clear understanding of the concept.
If making the degrowth case was like baking a cake, disproving the plausibility of green growth would be the equivalent of turning the oven on. Decoupling is only “a myth” or “a fantasy,” some would say, a notorious fallacy that requires as much attention as the confabulations of Flat Earthers. And yet, faith in decoupling is strengthening in environmental agendas all around the world, including the OECD, European Commission, World Bank, UNEP, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals where it even has its own target.read more
Growth-critical authors and advocates of a post-growth society are often criticized on the grounds that some of their arguments appear open to appropriation by authoritarian nationalist and nativist racist forces. As such objections are often made in a polemical and overly generalised manner, often ultimately aiming to delegitimize growth-critical ideas as a whole, those being criticised often react with angry rejection. Nevertheless, supporters of Post-Growth and Degrowth are well advised to seriously reflext on whether and to what extent their own arguments are in fact amenable to such right-wing appropriation.
We all use models in daily life to explain our environment. An example: I assume that a tree will grow provided it has sufficient water, nutrients and sun. I am using a simple model here, without understanding the nitty-gritty – what exactly happens in the roots, stem, leaves and cells.
Thinking in models is not only useful to understand our world, but also to solve problems. Let’s assume the tree is standing in front of my house. I know that when it’s bigger it will cast more and more shade on my house, thus reducing the sunlight reaching the rooms. If I am to prevent this, I can turn to my simple mental model and find out which factors I can and want to change in reality.read more
Economic growth can’t reduce inequalities; it merely postpones confronting exploitation.
The emergence of interest in degrowth can be traced back to the 1st International Degrowth Conference organized in Paris in 2008. At this conference, degrowth was defined as a “voluntary transition towards a just, participatory, and ecologically sustainable society,” so challenging the dogma of economic growth. Another five international conferences were organized between 2010 and 2018, with the latest in Malmö in August.
Europe is exhausted. It is exhausted after long years of what is labeled as the Eurozone crisis. It is exhausted after years of economic success and – now – prolonged years of political failure. Every single attempt of deepening the political union of Europe after the enactment of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 and the introduction of the common currency that followed in 1999, failed in consecutive referendums. Remember Ireland 2001 with the Nice Treaty, remember the Netherlands and France in 2005 with the European constitution. This elitist concept of Europe was too much rooted in an overtly rationalist model of economic necessities. But humans are more than economic machines doing what markets expect and require from them. read more