By Jen Wilton, originally published by Contributoria
Climate justice. A global basic income. Equitable distribution of wealth.
Do these seem like wild utopian ideas? A growing body of research suggests that not only are such ideas possible, they may actually be necessary to prevent us falling off any environmental, social or economic cliffs.
For many decades we have been caught in the cyclic loop of boom and bust, or in other words unmitigated growth followed by a catastrophic crash. And then we get back on the economic treadmill, like mice running blindly on a wheel. There are, however, alternatives to perpetual economic growth, such as a steady-state economy or one that actually declines in size (i.e. degrowth).
Research and Degrowth, an academic group active primarily in Spain and France, define degrowth as a “voluntary path towards reduction of production and consumption aiming at ecological sustainability, good life, liberty, and social justice.” Key assumptions are that downscaling needs to be equitable and that human progress is still possible without economic growth.