The time is ripe for us to refocus on what really matters: not GDP, but the health and wellbeing of our people and our planet.
he pandemic has lain bare the fragility of existing economic systems. Wealthy nations have more than enough resources to cover public health and basic needs during a crisis, and could weather declines in non-essential parts of the economy by reallocating work and resources to essential ones. Yet the way current economic systems are organized around constant circulation, any decline in market activity threatens systemic collapse, provoking generalized unemployment and impoverishment.
It doesn’t have to be this way. To be more resilient to crises – pandemic, climatic, financial, or political – we need to build systems capable of scaling back production in ways that do not cause loss of livelihood or life. We make the case for degrowth.
Conservative outlets such as Forbes, the Financial Times, or the Spectator, have been pronouncing that the coronavirus crisis reveals “the misery of degrowth”. But what is happening during the pandemic is not degrowth. Degrowth is a project of living meaningfully, enjoying simple pleasures, commoning, sharing and relating more with others, and working less, in more equal societies. The goal of degrowth is to purposefully slow things down in order to minimize harm to humans and earth systems and to reduce exploitation.