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Degrowth economics

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Degrowth economics

Unread postby Ludi » Wed 18 Mar 2009, 18:30:53

"Manifesto of the Italian Degrowth Network

There is a myth that lay at the root of the social imaginary in the last century and
which even today constitutes the background common to modern political ideologies,
whether on the Left or on the Right: it is the myth of growth. This belief, to which the
idea of unlimited growth is linked, has brought with it the requirement to maximise
production, comsumption and profit, leading us to today’s religion of the global market.
This system of thought is based on, and at the same time reproduces, an image of
the human being as a “homo economicus”: a subject without ties, a rational, utlitarian
individualist, orientated towards maximising his own interests and increasing his own
wealth as a monetary, generic, universal power; he is a subject who finds himself by
chance immersed in an environment seen as the “outside world” to exploit and bend to
his own ends, in a ceaseless growth of his own power to have things and other living
creatrures at his disposal."

http://www.decrescita.it/modules/articl ... le.php/a45

It seems to me that degrowth economics is only possible in a world of degrowth population. That is, the population must be allowed to drop, not continue to rise.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby davep » Wed 18 Mar 2009, 18:48:49

Good find, Ludi. I've been interested in formulating a locally-oriented sustainable manifesto myself. This seems like a good opportunity to involve my Italian wife in the process and hopefully help her to come to terms with where we're at.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby outcast » Wed 18 Mar 2009, 21:27:26

Given the crappy state of the Italian economy and its consistently high unemployment rates I really don't think they are a model for the future.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby Jotapay » Wed 18 Mar 2009, 22:25:07

There are numerous economic web-ocumentaries which have covered this, the exposure of the unlimited growth model as being a fraud. The "Crash Course" being the foremost in my mind. The "Debt as Money" film also gets into the absurdity of unlimited growth of the money supply and economy.

Be careful when you start talking about population reduction. While I may agree with you in principle, it is unpopular to take the Eugenics role and start deciding who gets the axe and who reproduces. The Nazis (and Americans who supported such programs) came to a very bad end in that regard. Eugenics is still practiced today, but under much more stealthy facades than what existed in the 1930s.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby Ludi » Thu 19 Mar 2009, 20:18:08

Jotapay wrote:Be careful when you start talking about population reduction.



I thought I had made my position on this clear. But I guess not. I am not in favor of deciding who lives or dies, that is for each individual to decide for themselves. I do not have power over other people's lives.

"Population reduction" doesn't mean killing people. It means reducing birthrate versus death rate. We all must die some day, but we do not all have to reproduce.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby Ludi » Thu 19 Mar 2009, 20:19:31

'How do we learn to want less?

The globe downshifted

There are practical ways in which we could immediately start to save our species from ecological and social crisis and our planet from being destroyed by our greed. So why aren’t we adopting them? What prevents us from desiring a simpler and better way of life?

by Serge Latouche

The dream of building a self-sufficient and economical society is widely shared, even if under many names. Décroissance (degrowth), downshifting, anti-productivism, requalified development and even sustainable development all evoke roughly the same goal. The French Greens, mean exactly the same thing by anti-productivism as growth objectors (1) mean by degrowth (2). The organisation Attac has appealed for “a move towards progressive and reasoned deceleration in world growth, under particular social conditions, as the first step towards reducing predatory and devastating production in all its forms”.'

http://mondediplo.com/2006/01/13degrowth
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby Ludi » Thu 19 Mar 2009, 20:23:20

outcast wrote:Given the crappy state of the Italian economy and its consistently high unemployment rates I really don't think they are a model for the future.


A degrowth economy would undoubtedly look "crappy," but in any case I doubt this manifesto has anything to do with the Italian economy either currently or in the recent past.

A degrowth economy would likely have very high rates of "unemployment" as people found other things to do with their time than work for money.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 19 Mar 2009, 21:11:21

Thanks for posting this Ludi. :)
/sarc
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby bencole » Thu 19 Mar 2009, 22:09:13

Ludi wrote:
There are practical ways in which we could immediately start to save our species from ecological and social crisis and our planet from being destroyed by our greed. So why aren’t we adopting them? What prevents us from desiring a simpler and better way of life?


Simply put, its psychology that is responsible for the current ecological and social crisis facing humanity, and it's what prevents us from implimenting a practical solution, many of which, like you said, already exist. Technology is not the real problem, its almost a sideshow IMO. The philosophy of materialism is designed exclusively to gratify the selfish, egotistical aspects of the human psyche, greed can also
be considered a psychological compensation method to alleviate some forms of deep anxiety and fear. Materialism and greed seeks to sastify ones own selfish desires at the expense of anything external that doesn't imeadiately serve this purpose, other people (hence social crisis), and the environment (indifference to ecological destruction) are included. Of course it doesn't help anything the way modern society encourages this attitude of instant gratification and "me first" thinking through media, etc. The constant brainwashing can be extremely hard to resist, especially if it is the preception that everybody who is considered succesful has to want a lifestyle like this.

That being said, psychology is also the key to the solution as well. In order to achieve an economic paradigm shift from a infinite growth model to a negative growth model or no-growth model like is suggested, material sacrifices will no doubt have to be made. The notion of voluntarily making sacrifices goes against the conditioning of a lot of people who have been brought up to
believe that anything that doesn't instantly gratify the senses or increase socioeconomic standing is bad, and sould be fought against. The psychological prepartion required for accepting a new economic paradigm, or simpler way of living in the future, I think will require
a very deep introspection and self reflection, to determine exactly what one truley needs and what serves a greater purpose in the grander scheme of things.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby bodigami » Sat 21 Mar 2009, 20:58:19

the text in italian; for those that prefer reading in the original language and know italian ...like me :)
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Inevitable Job-Growth Slowdown Could Be a Good Thing

Unread postby AdamB » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 10:43:30

The U.S. economy is still creating lots of jobs, with a seasonally adjusted 148,000 added in December and 2.2 million (not seasonally adjusted, for reasons I discuss below) for full-year 2017, according to Friday's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That 2.2 million is up a little (93,000 jobs, to be misleadingly precise about it) from 2016's total, but it's down substantially from earlier in the current economic expansion. Annual Job Growth Change in nonfarm payroll employment Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics You may have seen other reports indicating that job growth this year was slightly less than in 2016. That's true according to the seasonally adjusted numbers from the BLS, but when calculating annual totals I figure seasonal adjustments only muck things up, so I went with the unadjusted data. Also, all these numbers are going to change next month anyway in an annual benchmark revision. So I


Inevitable Job-Growth Slowdown Could Be a Good Thing
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby evilgenius » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 11:48:29

I don't think this is about the number of people. I think this is about how people treat each other. The numbers only serve to give us more examples. The rate of examples isn't changing, except that in our world there is concentration of power that allows for some greater violations. The fundamental cause of this is the failure of individuals to properly answer one of life's burning questions for themselves, the issue of whether the world is solipsistic or not. We recognize quite easily that we exist. It is much harder for us to recognize that others do as well.

Historically, this issue has always been handled by the introduction of law in some way. The idea being that if people won't behave in a manner that reflects how they understand that others actually exist and are, at least, similar to them, a set standard and list of punishments for deviating from that standard is the best solution. The only problem is that law as arbiter is too much like living in a predetermined, predestined world. It stifles creativity and ingenuity, but so does absolute lawlessness. Law is essentially static. Right-of-way is not static, though it does offer the same solution as law. Furthermore, right-of-way has always been the truth behind right and wrong. The law has only sought to capture what is going on in a dynamic system and deduce principles from that. Basically, it is not always a person's turn. The difference between the law and right-of-way is that between the communicator who always speaks and the one who listens.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 13:48:31

You are getting closer to the truth, EG. About the only aspect of understanding that you are lacking is the viewpoint of that new science called Anthropology, which grew out of Darwin's insights in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

The overpopulation, the desire for wealth accumulation, the eating of meat, even the desire to be surrounded by (but not too close to) your extended family of apes that produces the suburbs, all arise from the same primate instincts that we share with the other apes on this planet. These instincts underly human behavior, and although we can overcome individual aspects of these behaviors with an effort of will, they are always there, and always causing us to behave as apes behave.

In the end, it does not matter where you live or in what financial circumstances. The Kennedy/Shriver clan with their 15,000 square foot "cottage" in Hyannisport, and the family of 8 that "owns" the 3m by 3m patch of pavement in Bangladesh where they all sleep, all are responding to the same primate instincts.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 19:20:43

Too true KJ.
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Re: Degrowth economics

Unread postby evilgenius » Mon 08 Jan 2018, 11:57:31

In reference to growth, I think it is telling that it means something for the fulfillment of our wishes to come through interaction with others. That we don't just get our things as an infant does, by crying out. For what we desire is so much more complicated than the one or two things occupying the mind of one so young. It is telling, for it tests our notions, whether we truly want a thing or not, for us to have to wait out our fellow man's performances.

Getting conned into a trend by a Facebook meme or failing the first time around at managing debt don't necessarily mean giving up on the notion of ourselves as masters of our environments. It takes time to learn how to become an adult. All the while the world has not been standing there with a bottle, unless it has come at a cost. We can have faith because freewill is not what most people understand it to be. It isn't about doing what you want because you have been prompted by your impulses. It is about doing what you believe is right in this or that circumstance, even if it means the weakening of your own personal position. Freewill is about being free to see the world the way we choose, subject, of course, to the content we have learned. That will take trial and error, and comparison. That will take contemplation, reading and daring to express ourselves in a world that does not contain an outstretched bottle, but the unknown.
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