[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.]
by Birgit Daiber and François Houtart
Must we really destroy the planet in order to develop? Does economic growth necessitate the sacrifice of millions of men and women? Is youth unemployment the price to pay for saving the economy? The succession of crises, the obstinacy in pursuing the path of neo-liberalism, the generalization of injustices: all these pose some fundamental questions for humanity. Indignation continues to mount, all over the world. The cries of the oppressed are echoed in the moans of Mother Earth. Initiatives to solve the crises continue to fail: the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen 2009 and subsequent meetings have not lead to binding decisions. The recommendations of the UN Conference on the financial and economic crisis calling for a regulation of destructive speculative capital have been ignored. The time has come to take action and to do so by developing new ideas. However repairing the dysfunctions of the capitalist market economy, preaching green capitalism, regulating financial markets, struggling against poverty by doling out aid, drawing up security systems that are increasingly militaristic and criminalize resistance are all simply ways of adapting the existing system. What we now need is a radical change, another paradigm: in other words a fundamentally new orientation of the life of human beings on the planet.