Explaining Degrowth and Why it Matters


The way the economy runs leads to environmental destruction and it doesn’t have to be that way. The industrial revolution accelerated consumption of non-renewable resources and governments allowed corporations to profit at the expense of health and wellbeing. This is untenable. It’s time to shift our economy from one that exists to expand every year (so billionaires like Musk and Bezos) to one that exists for long-term sustainability. Without the environment we won’t even have an economy, and with climate change accelerating we have to refocus our economy immediately.

Degrowth, at its essence, is an alternative to capitalism, Parrique says. But what it absolutely is not, he says, is a planned recession on purpose. Not only does pausing economies for a moment do pretty little for the climate crisis (look how ineffective COVID-19 was at reducing emissions long-term), but it also hits the poorest and most vulnerable people first. 

Parrique says to picture economies like people with metabolisms—when you’re young, you need to eat lots of food, and as a result, produce lots of waste, to get big and strong. But if you keep eating like a rapidly-growing human well into adulthood, that’s probably not the healthiest way to be. As an adult, it makes more sense to balance out your diet for sustaining your body’s current needs. 

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