by MARK HAND
The widespread embrace of economic growth and development, even among environmental activists, is the primary cause of the current socio-ecological crisis facing the world, according to a new book that espouses the philosophy of “degrowth” and whose editors believe more comprehensive “counter-hegemonic narratives” are necessary to create new forms of living that are not dependent on equating growth with progress.
The degrowth philosophy has attracted a relatively large following in Europe, especially in France where it is known as décroissance. Its advocates view degrowth as the hypothesis that humans can achieve prosperity without economic growth. The philosophy has struggled to gain similar traction on this side of the Atlantic, although many radical thinkers, including the late American anarchist theoretician Murray Bookchin, have promoted similar ideas over the past 50 years.