An economic theory that proposes to subvert some of the maxims of capitalism.
We live in an economic context in which material benefits, productivity and the incessant struggle to achieve more and more growth and development prevail.
But … what if instead of constantly growing, we stop growing? The degrowth is a movement for economic development social. We are faced with an anti-crisis theory, whose objective is to optimally and responsibly reduce production, in order to achieve a balance between production / consumption and the use of the natural resources that are needed for this.
Next, we will present the advantages and social benefits that Decrease can bring, the diffusion of which has not had all the support expected to this day, where future challenges will be to supply resources to an overpopulated world.
What is the Decrease?
This trend emerged at the end of the 20th century from the hand of the American mathematician and economist Georgescu-Roegen. His successful studies on sustainable economy and development earned him to be recognized as the founder and father of degrowth.
The pillars of Decrease are based on abandoning the absurd idea of annual economic growth that we hear so much about in the news, and therefore advocated by our governments. Therefore, an effort is being made to talk more about voluntary degrowth. That is, working fewer hours and enjoying more free time.
Several have been the economists who have aligned themselves with this thought, but the most influential in making this theory known in modern society has been the Frenchman Serge Latouche.
For this author, degrowth in itself does not suppose any scientific thesis or a significant revolution. In his own words, it is a simple and forceful concept to get the attention of the global public. We are currently facing a serious problem of scarcity of primary resources; Scientists and naturalist experts warn of the long-term risk if urgent measures are not taken regarding domestic consumption.
For social growth
Latouche denounces the high commitment to the market economy to the detriment of quality in society. Today growth is only considered profitable if its effects positively influence natural resources, future generations, and the working conditions of workers.
For Serge Latouche, the cultural revolution is the only alternative. As he explains in his work “The bet on Decrease”, he proposes a whole series of solutions under the prefix “re”, which denote repetition or regression, which he has baptized as the “8 R” model. :
Need to redefine current values, which are globalist, consumerist and extremely consumerist for more local values, economic cooperation and humanism.
Adapt the means of production and social relations to the new scale of redefined values, such as the combination of eco-efficiency and voluntary values.
This concept has two purposes. On the one hand, it seeks to directly reduce the power and means of the world consumer class and, especially, of the oligarchy of the great predators. Otherwise, it aims to re-educate the population by reducing the invitation to unnecessary and ostentatious consumption.
The Decrease aims to produce locally, through local businesses and with essential goods to satisfy the needs of the population. Without trying to establish a border system, we must limit ourselves to producing what is indispensable for society, recovering the territorial anchor.
Current development sacrifices society and its well-being in favor of “development entrepreneurs.” In other words: multinationals. It is about making a change in values that leads to a different view of current reality, an artificial reality of consumption. In this way, it is necessary to reconceptualize wealth in relation to poverty or scarcity over abundance.
Extend the life of each and every one of the products we use and avoid irresponsible consumption and waste.
Make long-term use of the material products that we buy such as clothing, electrical appliances or the car.
The first and last essence of Decrease. Drastically reduce the impact on the biosphere of our way of producing and consuming. We must not only reduce our consumption of tangible products, but also intangible ones, such as working hours and health consumption, reducing the purchase of medicines and the abuse of medical treatments.
Another essential element to reduce is mass tourism and the exaggeration of constant leisure. The human spirit is adventurous, but modern industry has exaggerated this need by commercializing our traveling impulses to the maximum.
Decrease as the only solution
The Decrease defends an economic model to improve the quality of life of the majority. Among some ideas, the most important ones that govern our lives and sense of happiness stand out, which are work and free time.
A reduction in the working day will lead to an increase in leisure time and we have to use it in social life and creative leisure versus consumer leisure.