How should ‘degrowth’ apply to the South? by Serge Latouche

[Articles and opinion pieces published in this blog do not necessarily reflect the polices and opinions of the organizers of the International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas. They are posted here to stimulate discussion and debate on issues relevant to degrowth.]

Last December we (Le Monde Diplomatique) published an article about contraction economics – décroissance or ’degrowth’- a topic that has become a major subject of debate, not just within the counter-globalisation movement but in the wider world. The big question is: how should ’degrowth’ apply to the South?

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  • Degrowth is not a concrete project but a keyword. Society has been locked into thought dominated by progressivist growth economics; the tyranny of these has made imaginative thinking outside the box impossible. The idea of a contraction-based society is just a way to provoke thought about alternatives. To accuse its advocates of only wanting to see economies contract within the existing system rather than proposing an alternative to that system, and to suspect them (as do some counter-globalisation economists) of wanting to prevent the underdeveloped world from resolving its problems reflects at best ignorance and at worst bad faith.
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