Is Growth Always Good?

In the run up to the Rio 2012 Earth Summit, Diana Lind examines the concept of "degrowth", a topic that economists and elected officials are likely loathe to discuss, but which may be key to the long-term sustainability of our planet.
April 17, 2012, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Lind has been introduced to the concept of degrowth by Erik Assadourian, who has written on the topic [PDF] in a brief for the Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity.

"According to Assadourian, 'degrowth is the intentional contraction of overly inflated economies and the dispelling of the myth that perpetual pursuit of growth is good for economies or the societies of which they are a part.' He goes on to say that 'degrowth can be achieved through policies to discourage overconsumption, raising taxes, shortening work hours, and ‘informalizing' certain sectors of the economy.'"

The urgency for increased analysis and debate on degrowth comes from the frightening fact that, "if everyone in the world lived and consumed like Americans, only 1.4 billion people could live on the planet."

Lind sees degrowth as an important new avenue for discussing sustainability. As she observes, "the way that Assadourian has framed it [degrowth] as a way for people to step out of the 'rat race' is smart and an angle that no other environmental trend has fully promoted."

Full Story:
Published on Monday, April 16, 2012 in Next American City
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email