What is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement

Demaria, F., Schneider, F., Sekulova, F., & Martinez-Alier, J. (2013). What is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement. Environmental Values, 22(2), 191-215.

This piece promotes using De-growth as a way of environmental management and conservation. It examines a variety of sources of de-growth from an assortment of standpoints: ecology, critiques of development and praise of anti-utilitarianism, meaning of life and well-being, bio economics, democracy and justice. Experts say that degrowth is a possible way to go about preserving ecosystems by reducing human pressure over ecosystems and nature. It also emphasizes the possibility of separating ecological impacts from economic growth. The authors examine a separate piece which critiques the uniformizastion of cultures due to the widespread adoption of particular technologies and consumption and production models experienced in the global north. Some authors consider “sustainable development” to be an oxymoron and believe that using the same technologies and production models as the global North does for other parts of the world is not effective for environmental management. The meaning of life source of degrowth moves for reducing the consumption of the individual and promoting a simple life as liberating. Bioeconomics argument for degrowth criticize the belief that new technologies and efficiency improvements are solutions to the ecological crisis. Degrowth promotes many “non-technical” ways of reducing material and energy flows. Next, degrowth emphasizes the need for more democratic debates on topics such as economic development, growth, technological innovation and advancement. The last degrowth source examines is justice. A common assumption is that only economic growth can improve the living conditions of poor people. Degrowth explores ways to make justice and sustainability compatible. Justice requires a degrowth of the living standard the rich classes of the North and South. There is currently a misunderstanding about the different standards of living which makes using the same techniques between regions ineffective because there is a difference in life styles. For example, the lifestyle of a fisher in India is different than that of a banker in New York. Their concept of wealth and success is different.