Notes on The future is degrowth
- The tesis that growth became the imperative of the neoliberal state after 1950 is interesting, but flawed. The same preoccupation for maintaining and creating growth can be, I’m sure, found way before - in fact, both of the major authoritarian ideological blocks in the first half of the XXth Century presented themselves as an alternative to capitalism and a different economical organization from the State. And, of course, Marx’s critique of growth is almost contemporary with the born of growth as we know it today.
- More interesting to me is the difference between capital accumulation pre-mainstream fossil fuel use (in the big commercialist bodies of Europe, for example, like the Hanseatic League) and capital accumulation under growth. Both that’s a different book, I guess.
- Even more: any critique of growth that doesn’t go back to its (economical) origins is flawed - and that’s why I liked Fossil capital so much.
- One could argue that post-war neoliberal stability bred the ~70 years of peace in Europe (at least until 2014’s Crimea, I guess).
- The first part of The future is degrowth fleshes out the many angles of critique of growth… which is nice, but not enough (see first note).
- There is a fundamental of discourse in this kind of degrowth books. The reader gets treated with hundreds of pages on why growth has a negative outcome on humanity and the planet - but that’s not our experience. I’m sure privileged inhabitants of the first world do have the impression to live better now than our pre-fossil fuel society ancestors, or even better than a couple generations - I do, for sure. Any critique of growth should start by adressing that fundamental problem: that degrowth is necessary but not desirable.
- More interestingly:
- How to intersect the realities of our political systems with this perfect storm, without causing what ammounts to a european level Gilets Jaunes-like reaction, or without paving the way for oportunism by bad faith (political) parties? (ie: retardism, xenophobia, ecofascism or other political bucaneering).
- And, at a global level, is there any possible non-zero sum strategy to follow to propel system change of the kind we need to reach zero emission scenarios?
Those are the real questions, and I dare say the only ones work asking in degrowth.