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Do you know Serge Latouche? The ‘happy degrowth’

Do you know Serge Latouche?
Born in 1940, the French philosopher and economist is the theorist of the ‘happy degrowth’.

So what?
So, being on average politically apathetic people we wouldn’t give a damn, we strongly believe in saving our grey matter from the exhaustion caused by challenging thoughts and intellectual exercises.

But the G20 is meeting in Brisbane this weekend and European leaders know all too well that we need to grow, our economies need to grow, without growth we’re damned, doomed to see our civilisation perish and our system collapse. The GFC has brought us on our knees and to recover we need to foster our sluggish production and inflate GDPs, especially while rising economies outside the Western world are doing so well – damn ‘Others’ how dare they overtake ‘Us’!?

Europeans are frequently scolded by Frau Merkel – how come German economy is always in shape!? Do they give it steroids like they used to do with their athletes in the glorious days of the DDR!? – and humiliated by Stock Markets sheer falls.

However, Latouche came to my mind because – while economic hysteria is taking over and we all fear we’re going to be buried under the collapse of our economies – he says that actually this very thing that the GNP has to grow indefinitely makes no sense at all.

For those who love Muse, like I do, the issue is beautifully summarised by Unsustainable.
For those who do not love Muse, well, there’s something wrong with you.

Basically, Latouche says that “an economy based on endless growth is unsustainable” (Muse, Unsustainable, I told you), simply because the need to produce and consume beyond the real need is intrinsically doomed to lead to unbalances, inequalities and environmental unsustainability.

Hence, the solution might be to free ourselves from the obsession of economic growth and peacefully accept that de-growth may be a blessing bringing us back to a state of socio-environmental equilibrium.

No, that’s not a new hippy green movement but a radical yet rational point of view. The issue with this kind of views is that, because they challenge a crystallized system, to actually design a viable way to put it into practice is nothing easy.

Some of the ideas born out of the ‘happy degrowth’ are plain common sense (you may want to have a look here, but you can also simply google ‘degrowth’). How feasible it is to convince global economy to happily and enthusiastically de-grow, is arguable. This blog has the sole aim to provide food for thought and to invite everyone to dig a bit deeper into matters that are not only G20 agendas but also problems that affect each and every one of us as (abusive) dwellers of the planet Earth.


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