Eagle: Charles Hugh Smith on Degrowth, Anti-Consumerism and Peak Consumption

03 Economy, Civil Society, Commerce, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence
300 Million Talons...
300 Million Talons…

Degrowth, Anti-Consumerism and Peak Consumption

Degrowth embraces the ongoing devolution of paid work and wealth that cannot be reversed.The anti-consumerism Degrowth movement is gaining visibility and adherents in Europe. Degrowth (French: décroissance, Spanish: decrecimiento, Italian: decrescita) recognizes that the mindless expansion of mindless consumption fueled by credit and financialization is qualitatively and quantitatively different from positive growth.

Degrowth is based on a number of principles:

1. Consumerism is psychological/spiritual junk food (French: malbouffe) that actively reduces well-being (bien-etre) rather than increases it.

2. Better rather than more: well-being is increased by everything that cannot be commoditized by a market economy or financialized by a cartel-state financial machine– friendship, family, community, self-cultivation–rather than by acquiring more. The goal of economic and social growth should be better, not more. On a national scale, the cancerous-growth measured by gross domestic product (GDP) should be replaced with gross domestic happiness/ gross nation happiness (GNH).

3. A recognition that resources are not infinite, despite claims to the contrary. Even if fossil fuels were infinite and low-cost (cheerleaders never mention costs of extraction and refining or the external costs), fisheries, soil and fresh water are not. For one example of many: China Is Plundering the Planet’s Seas (The Atlantic). Indeed, all the evidence suggests that access to cheap energy only speeds up the depletion and despoliation of every other resource.

4. The unsustainability of consumerist consumption dependent on resource depletion and financialization (i.e. the endless expansion of credit and phantom collateral).

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