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Living together theme
Degrowth or Ungrowth is a political concept that states that a global economic growth is not sustainable and unfeasible from an ecological point of view. Sustainability implies a collective organization so that the decrease of the production of goods does not amount to "rusticity".
 The precepts
The concept rests on three basic truths :
- the goods and services produced by economic activities are not the only wealth available : healthy ecosystems are another form of wealth, as are a fair justice, good human relations within a society, the degrees of inequality, democratic institutions, etc. Growing material wealth assesssed in terms of money may be achieved at the expense of these forms of wealth
- our current economy relies on finite resources that will go missing some day and they do not belong to us : the future generations are also entitled to them
- our societies in the developed countries depend on the consumption of material goods that are often useless and we don't realize the degradation of more essential forms of wealth : degradation of our quality of life, of natural areas, loss of biodiversity, some natural goods are nolonger free : water, les wild berries, growing local violence and resentment towards western countries, etc.
Sustainable degrowth does not mean achieving degrowth for itself. It is a means to get a better life. It takes into account the partial character of measuring by the "GNP" and states that if we want to re-establish wealth in all its various forms it's high time we decreased the GNP.
There is a controversy on the idea of "growth", as meaning "increasing the GDP". Those who prone degrowth think that measuring growth by this index gives only a quantitative appreciation (ignoring quality). What is measured is increase of production and of sales, this deepens the gap between countries, makes social inequalities, poverty and pollution worse. As such, this development system goes against the human values on which our societies are based and ignores the fact that our planet is finite, its natural resources are limited and is its capacity to bear the destruction of biotopes.
Those who prone degrowth explain that economists today, whether they be liberal, Marxist or Malthusian, still think as in the XIXth C when it was thought natural resources were illimited so that their current economic models are idealized and have lost touch with reality.
Degrowth is antinomic to both liberal economy and a certain notion of sustainability. Indeed, sustainability can be used by big firms to go on producing in a non-friendly-environmental way and without caring about social fairness as they simply claim they aim at reducing these nuisances. Opponents to such firms explain that the excuse of "sustainability" is only meant to seem to be respectful of the environment. Thus, for instance, in 2001, Michel de Fabiani, president of the French branch of BP, in his account of the 4th parliamentary meeting on energy declared : « Sustainability means producing more energy, more oil, more gas, maybe more coal, and nuclear energy, and most certainly more renewable energies» . In the same way, EDF has been presenting itself as the champion of "sustainabilty" for some years, highlighting its committment to renewable energies (rather low at that) and to nuclear energy, which indeed emits few greenhouse gases, but requires uranium (a finite resource) and produces highly toxic wastes.