Degrowth, a Possible Solution for the Current World?

The degrowth theory was formulated by Georgescu-Roegen, a brilliant mathematician and economist of Romanian origin.

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The degrowth theory was formulated by Georgescu-Roegen, a brilliant mathematician and economist of Romanian origin. The basic postulate of this approach is to progressively reduce production to improve the balance between the human being and nature. In turn, to balance the life of the human being and society.

Growth is perhaps the central objective in all the economies of the world today. This is one of the great mantras of capitalism. It is assumed that the idea is to produce more, but at the same time, consume more. More and more. However, this scheme has led to undesirable phenomena. The first one, an atrocious relationship with nature. The second, a notable decrease in the quality of human life.

“The slogan of the decrease has as its goal, above all, to strongly insist on abandoning the growth objective for growth.”

-Serge Latouche-

According to the degrowth theory, human beings should work less and have more free time. This would be the basis of a new model in which production is regulated, in such a way as to meet the needs of societies, without depredating the environment, or turning the human being into an automaton.

Decrease in consumption

Currently, almost all people spend most of their time at work. Unlike what happened in the past, this work often does not have as its main purpose the satisfaction of basic needs. Gradually the human being has developed new needs, all of them associated with consumption.

What many people seek with work is to increase their consumption capacity. Have more to buy more, regardless of whether what is purchased is relevant or not. A few decades ago it was barely needed more than a soap to bathe, now you need five types of soaps or more: the one of the hands (with moisturizing cream), the one of the body for the shower, the one of the hair, the intimate soap, the conditioner, etc.

The capacity of consumption has grown remarkably in many society. However, this does not mean that people are happier or feel more fulfilled. In a study conducted in Canada, a group of volunteers was asked if they thought they were happier than their parents. Only 44% answered yes, despite the fact that consumption capacity had increased by 60%.

Bases of degrowth

The world has reached a point where the imbalance between production and nature has become dangerous. There are doubts about the availability of some resources for the new generations. Something is not doing well and the theory of degrowth suggests that the deficiency is in production without control.

The theory of degrowth raises eight measures or eight solutions for the world today:

  • Revalue. This purpose has to do with the need to change individualist and consumerist values, for others in which cooperation and the humanistic sense of life prevail.
  • Reconceptualize. It has to do with re-defining the concepts of what poverty is richness.
  • What is need and consumption. Adopt a different perspective in the face of scarcity and abundance.
  • Restructure. It involves the adaptation of the production apparatus to objectives such as the protection of the environment and human happiness. For example, opt for eco-efficiency and simplicity.
  • Relocate. It is about recovering the regional anchorage. It is a proposal against multinational production. Each territory could find a way to produce the goods it requires.
  • Redistribute. It means adopting a cooperative perspective, in which basic goods reach everyone. This means reducing the purchasing power of large global consumers and avoiding ostentatious consumption.
  • Reduce. It is the decrease applied to production and consumption. Therefore, to work hours. It also means reducing the consumption of medicines and the mass tourism that it depredates.
  • Re-use. It has to do with extending the useful life of different products. Eliminate the culture of the disposable.
  • Recycle. It means giving proper treatment to the waste. Avoid compounds that can not be recycled and take care of the garbage we produce.

It is clear that the current economic system is not generating happiness, but neurosis, alienation and inequality. In the world begin to break through new paradigms, such as the theory of degrowth, which propose a gentler and more humane north.