“Growth below zero”: in memory of Sicco Mansholt

A fascinating outline of an element of degrowth that I hadn’t seen before. Thanks to Gualter for posting it.

By Joan Martinez-Alier, RESPONDER conference, 21 March 2014

In 1971 Sicco Mansholt, a Dutch agrarian unionist and social-democratic politician, who had promoted an expansionist agricultural policy in Europe as commissioner for agriculture pushing for consolidation of farms and increasing subsidies so much that mountains of surplus butter were produced, suffered a radical change of outlook after he read an advance copy of the Meadows report.

In his speeches and writings at the time he did not refer to the “Report to the Club of Rome” but to the “MIT report” because he read it before it was published by the Club of Rome. This report propelled the Meadows to well-deserved fame, and made the Club of Rome also famous although we know that the men behind the Club of Rome, such as Alexander King, disapproved of the anti-economic growth conclusions of the Meadows report.


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